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Trans men and chest cancer screening
“You want to feel good about your chest. And you want to know your body well enough to know if something is wrong, even if you’ve had chest surgery.” Brady
Cancer in the chest area. It’s not something that any of us like to think about, but for many trans men and people on the trans masculine (female-to-male/FtM) spectrum, screening for cancer in the chest area comes with particular concerns.
It can be hard to make chest cancer screening a priority, especially if the process is at odds with your gender identity. Maybe you’re concerned that you may experience transphobia at the screening facility. Perhaps you’re worried that having a mammogram could be uncomfortable or upsetting. Or, maybe you just don’t want to think about cancer.
If you’re a trans guy aged 50 to 69, though, it’s important to get screened for cancer in the chest area. This means finding cancer before there are any symptoms by getting a mammogram every two years. Even if you’ve had top surgery, you still need to monitor the health of your chest tissue.
So, is chest cancer screening worth the hassle and discomfort? The answer is yes. Because your health is worth it. Because your body is worth it. Because cancer doesn’t discriminate.
We recognize that there are trans men and people on the transmasculine spectrum who do not identify as having breasts, feel ambivalent about having breasts and prefer the term “chest” instead. Most of the time, we refer to cancer in breast tissue as breast cancer, and to the tissue itself as breasts, recognizing its limitations but acknowledging the need for simplicity.
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