Peer-reviewed evidence on cancer screening for the LGBTQ2S+ community is evolving and the program is committed to enacting evidence-informed actions to better serve all Albertans. We will update this section on a regular basis in partnership with our LGBTQ2S+ stakeholders’ input and emerging evidence.
Should transgender and gender diverse people get regular breast/chest cancer screening with mammography?
Before getting a mammogram, all individuals are recommended to speak with their healthcare provider about screening. Please consider seeing your healthcare provider to assess your breast/chest cancer risk level and discuss whether breast/chest cancer screening is right for you.
The information below is a guide for whether screening mammograms may benefit you.
If you’re between ages 45 to 74,
I am transgender or non-binary and was assigned female at birth1, do I need breast/chest cancer screening with mammography?
You should see your healthcare provider to assess your breast/chest cancer risk level. If you are considered to be at average risk, regular breast/chest cancer screening is recommended. The risk level assessment considers your age, family history, and if you have breast/chest tissue.
1We are aware that the term “sex assigned at birth” may not be acceptable for everyone. However, we are using this term to avoid causing confusion with the screening recommendations. Our apologies in advance for any harm this term may cause.
If you have had top surgery, usually some original breast/chest tissue will remain, so ongoing monitoring in the form of physical examination for breast/chest cancer is recommended. Breast/chest self-awareness is also recommended.
Talk to your healthcare provider about how to best monitor your breast/chest health.
I am on testosterone, do I need breast/chest cancer screening with mammography?
If you still have breast/chest tissue and are on testosterone, you should still have regular breast/chest cancer screening with mammography if you are at average risk between 45 – 74. Testosterone therapy isn’t believed to significantly increase the risk (chance) of breast/chest cancer in transgender men.
I am transgender or non-binary and was assigned male at birth1, do I need breast/chest cancer screening with mammography?
Transgender people who have undergone breast/chest feminizing surgery are generally at lower risk of breast/chest cancer than the general population; however, breast/chest cancer can still occur. You should have regular breast/chest cancer screening if you’ve been taking feminizing hormones (e.g., estrogen) for 5 or more year years total (i.e., years do not have to be consecutive).You do not need breast/chest cancer screening if you’ve never taken feminizing hormones, or if you’ve been taking feminizing hormones for less than 5 years total. Instead, you should receive counselling around breast/chest self-awareness and regular clinical breast examination to assess the degree of breast/chest development.
Tell your healthcare provider if you have a family history of breast/chest cancer.
I had a hysterectomy, do I need breast/chest cancer screening with mammography?
You should still have regular breast/chest cancer screening with mammography even if you’ve had a hysterectomy unless you have had top surgery. Talk to your healthcare provider about how to best monitor your breast/chest health.
I have breast/chest implants, should I and can I still get screened for breast/chest cancer with mammography?
You should get screened, if you are 45 – 74 years old, have breast/chest implants, and have either been on feminizing hormones for 5 or more years in total or were assigned female at birth.
Breast/chest cancer screening is still important if you have breast implants. Special techniques are used to make sure the most amount of breast/chest tissue is seen in the image and to make that the implant doesn’t rupture. Be sure to mention that you have breast/chest implants when booking your mammography appointment as more time might be needed to ensure the best image is taken. Talk to your healthcare provider about how to best monitor your breast/chest health.
I bind my chest, does this increase my chance of getting breast/chest cancer?
The risks of breast/chest cancer from chest binding haven’t been well studied, so it’s not clear at this time. Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that binding increases the risk of breast/chest cancer.
However, it is important to check-in with your healthcare provider to monitor your breast/chest health while binding.