"For some time, it has been acknowledged by Macmillan and other cancer charities that LGBTQ+ people often receive less support leading to a more difficult journey with a cancer diagnosis and treatment. Since we started our prostate cancer support service METRO Walnut eight years ago for LGBTQ+ people, we have seen many changes in attitudes and organisations opening up the conversation around LGBTQ+ people’s experiences with a cancer diagnosis. However, sadly there is still very little in the way of specific and targeted support for LGBTQ+ people from regular medical institutions and services.
"METRO Walnut is one of few LGBTQ+ prostate cancer groups running in the UK. In the last two years since we have adapted and increased our meetings to two per month, including some online delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has become apparent that we are even more vitally needed, in the way newly diagnosed people find help, support and answers to their questions around how prostate cancer and its impactful treatment might affect them and their relationships and physical lives.
"We don’t just deal with issues around prostate cancer, but those around prejudice and inexperience of health professionals on such matters. We also see those with comorbidities including those who are living with HIV and those who are coming to terms with coming out and dealing with their sexuality and then a disease that can deny them exploration of their identity. As time goes on, we support a number of people who are dealing with not only diagnosis, treatment and difficult changes in their lives, bodies and sex lives, but also requiring secondary or further treatment following an unsuccessful round of primary treatment.
"Within training of health professionals, LGBTQ+ inclusion and diversity is a minor area of study and through my experience, I have found that resources are scarce at the best of times. I am extremely proud that METRO Walnut remains a vital resource and voice in the world of prostate cancer care and support."
Simon Faulkner, Prostate Cancer Peer Support Group Coordinator.