Bi Men Twice as Likely to Get Skin Cancer

A report in USA Today says that gay and bisexual men in the United States are twice as likely as heterosexual men to get skin cancer, according to a new study. The main likely reason is that gay and bisexual men are three times more likely to engage in indoor tanning, according to the study presented to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Gay and bisexual women in California were less likely than straight women to tan indoors.

The researchers then looked at national health survey data for 2013 and found the same thing: A history of skin cancer was twice as common in gay and bisexual men as in straight men, 6.6% vs. 3.3%. About 5% of gay and bisexual men said they had engaged in indoor tanning in the past year vs. 1.7% of straight men.

Gay and bisexual women were, again, less likely than straight women to report indoor tanning.

“While unfortunate and alarming, the findings are not all that surprising,” says Fred Sainz, vice president for communication at the Human Rights Campaign, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group for gay rights.

Tari Hanneman, associate director of a health program affiliated with the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, explains that some gay and bisexual men might avoid regular check-ups – including skin checks – because of fears of discriminatory treatment.

Mike Szymanski
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Mike Szymanski has written about bisexual issues since 1989 and has one of the longest-running regular bisexual columns as the National Bisexuality Examiner. He came out as bisexual in a cover story of Genre magazine, which resulted in more than 50 television appearances, including Ricki Lake, Phil Donahue Show and 20/20. Szymanski won the Lambda Literary Award in 2007 for co-authoring an informative humor book “The Bisexual’s Guide to the Universe: Quips, Tips and Lists for Those Who Go Both Ways.” Write him at [email protected]