Essay on Elderly Lesbians and Breast Cancer

1911 Words Dec 23rd, 2014 8 Pages
Running Head: ELDERLY LESBIANS AND BREAST CANCER

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Elderly Lesbians and Breast Cancer California State University, Dominguez Hills School of Nursing MSN 533-08 Theoretical Aspects of Aging

Running Head: ELDERLY LESBIANS AND BREAST CANCER

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Elderly Lesbians and Breast Cancer Cancer health disparities have been documented in specific populations in the United States. Elderly lesbians are one such population, with factors related to lifestyle, socioeconomic status, healthcare practices, and access to services (Brown & Tracy, 2008). There is a pressing need for understanding of the health care disparities faced by elderly lesbians, so that the needs of this group can be adequately met. In the United States, breast cancer is the
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Lesbians are four times less likely than heterosexual women to have had a mammogram.

Running Head: ELDERLY LESBIANS AND BREAST CANCER

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Some lesbians are also at increased risk for breast cancer related to higher alcohol intake and nulliparity (Barnes, 2012). Age-related changes among lesbians In aging women, frequency of ovulation diminishes and menstrual cycles become shorter and irregular. Hormonal changes also occur, as post-menopausal women produce approximately 90% less estrogen (Miller, 2012). Mental changes, such as sensation, perception, reasoning, and memory, occur among all aging adults. The lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (LGBT) population undergoes the same changes and dysfunctions, while also facing additional challenges. Currently, there are over two million Americans over the age of 65 in the LBGT community. Of these, over 40% of LGBT elderly suffer from depression (Eliason, Dibble, & DeJoseph, 2010). Aging lesbian and bisexual women have a 1.35 times greater risk of experiencing depression than aging heterosexual women (Wallace, Cochran, Durazo, & Ford, 2011). The Healthy People goals for 2020 specifically address mental health disparities of the LGBT population, as discrimination against LGBT persons has been associated with high rates of psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, and suicide (Healthy People, 2011). Elderly lesbians can experience role changes as normal physical aging changes result in loss of independence. Psychological

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