During my Radiology and Breast Care electives this summer, I enjoyed opportunities to work in a breast care clinic in Pittsburgh, PA. I spent most of my time with the radiologists, learning how to read mammograms, observing and assisting in breast biopsies, and reading up on the latest recommendations around breast cancer screening; I also was able to work with some of the surgeons, both in the clinic and in the operating room. One particular patient case I encountered piqued my interest in health equity, especially concerning patients who identify as transgender or gender nonbinary.
There are a number of considerations in this screening these patient populations for breast cancer. Due to a lack of research on incidence of breast cancer in patients undergoing gender-affirming hormone therapy, there is a lack of overarching guidelines and recommendations. High quality healthcare must be individualized based on each patient’s risk factors and genetics. A paucity of knowledge around transgender healthcare in the medical community at large is a potential barrier to health equity for these individuals.
I spent some time reading and writing about these issues, and my work was published as AMSER case of the month. I continued to expand on my learning and created a more extensive guide which was accepted for publication as a scientific exhibit at the Pennsylvania Radiological Society’s annual meeting. My presentation “Breast Cancer Screening in Transgender Patients: What the Radiologist Should Know” won second place among over 30 exhibits from across the state! (Presentation below; publication link coming soon.)