Charities want to hear from LGBTQ people living with cancer in Sussex and East Surrey

Macmillan Cancer Support and Switchboard launched two surveys today, to get a better understanding of the needs and experiences of LGBTQ people living with cancer in Sussex and East Surrey.

This research is part of an ongoing programme of work to better understand the specific experiences of LGBTQ people with cancer and how they can be better supported.

It builds on research the two organisations carried out last year to explore the needs of LGBTQ people with a cancer diagnosis in Brighton. Some of the concerns raised by people included a lack of LGBTQ-specific information and support and LGBTQ people being afraid to disclose their sexual orientation or trans status because of fears about homo-/ bi- /transphobia.

Valentine Mulholland from Hove was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago. She said: “Going through my cancer diagnosis and treatment was challenging enough for my partner and I without having to struggle for our relationship or my sexuality to be recognised by healthcare professionals.

“Whilst my cancer nurse and oncologist in Brighton were brilliant, the couple of issues we encountered outside that reinforced the importance of making sure all those professionals and agencies supporting those with cancer are aware and fully inclusive.”

Besides the surveys – one for LGBTQ people living with cancer and another for professionals and volunteers working with this community – the two organisations will be at various Pride events in the summer to help encourage as big a response as possible.

Dawn Draper, Chair of the Board of Trustees at Switchboard, said: “Every person diagnosed with cancer should have access to appropriate support that treats them as a person with a life and not only a disease. We are proud to partner with Macmillan once again to ensure that LGBTQ people living with cancer receive this kind of care.

“Last year we worked together to identify inequalities in care, support, and resources among LGBTQ people living with cancer in Brighton and Hove. By expanding our research to East Surrey and Sussex we hope to build recommendations for inclusive and affirming care for all LGBTQ people living with cancer.”

Emma Frost, Macmillan Engagement and Volunteering Manager, said: “Macmillan wants to put people living with cancer at the heart of everything we do. So we’re proud to be working in partnership with Switchboard to better understand the needs and experiences of LGBTQ people living with cancer in East Surrey and Sussex. This will deepen our understanding of the specific issues LGBTQ people may be facing, and the support they need, to inform our future work.”

Switchboard will also hold individual interviews and two focus groups this Summer, to learn more about the experiences of community members and professionals. People can contact jessica.sandelson@switchboard.org.uk to find out more about either of those.

Links to survey:

LGBTQ people living with cancer survey: http://bit.ly/lgbtqcancersurvey

Professionals and volunteers supporting LGBTQ people living with cancer: http://bit.ly/lgbtqcancersupport

If people need help accessing the survey and require it in a different format (large font, translated, printed copies, BSL translation etc) please email Jessica.sandelson@switchboard.org.uk.

Pride events in summer 2019 where Macmillan and Switchboard will be to promote the surveys:

  • Saturday 13 July – Worthing Pride
  • Saturday 20 July – Trans Pride Brighton
  • Sunday 25 August – Hastings Pride
  • Saturday 31 August – Crawley Pride