BreastScreen Victoria has been awarded a Rainbow Tick recognising the organisation’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and accessible cancer screening.

The accreditation makes BreastScreen Victoria the first screening program in Australia to be recognised under the Rainbow Tick program.

The BreastScreen Coordination Unit received the Tick for its efforts to provide inclusive service to LGBTI members of the community.

BreastScreen Victoria CEO Vicki Pridmore said achieving Rainbow Tick accreditation was the culmination of many years’ work to better understand the needs of LGBTI people.

“We recognise that LGBTI people in our target demographic are under-screened and face barriers to screening,” Pridmore said.

“Our staff have been working with the community and organisations such as Transgender Victoria and Thorne Harbour Health to better understand and remove any barriers that may prevent any LGBTI people from accessing our services.”

La Trobe University researchers have found that older lesbian and bisexual women are an under-screen group for both breast and cervical cancer, while also being more likely to be high-risk drinkers and heavy smokers.

Research has also indicated that hormone therapy can increase breast cancer risk, but there has been limited research into whether this risk increase affects trans women and men.

Pridmore said that the accreditation also means that LGBTI staff working in the Coordination Unit will be welcomed.

“This accreditation is an important step that will drive ongoing quality improvement throughout the organisation.

“We will continue to work with our clinics and screening services throughout Victoria to be LGBTI inclusive, and hope that achieving Rainbow Tick accreditation will encourage other organisations in their development of inclusive services,” Pridmore said.

BreastScreen Victoria is aimed at people aged between 50 and 74 years old, with early detection offering the best chance of successful treatment and recovery.

Earlier this year, ACON launched the ‘Our United Front’ campaign, with the involvement of BreastScreen NSW, similarly aimed at addressing breast cancer risk and increasing screening rates in the LGBTQ community.

For more information about BreastScreen Victoria’s LGBTI-inclusive programs, visit the BSV website.

Related reading: ‘We’re worth it: getting my first mammogram as a queer woman

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