Promoting Good Outcomes in LGBT Cancer Care

Promoting Good Outcomes in LGBT Cancer Care: a qualitative study of patients’ experiences and professionals’ interactions in clinical oncology

What is the project about and why is it being done?

This Macmillan-funded research project is being undertaken by a team of researchers at DMU to explore and understand LGBT people’s experiences of cancer care, with a view to improving the information, support and care provided to LGBT people living with cancer. 

The Cancer Patient Experience Survey (CPES) of 67,000 found that in comparison to heterosexual respondents, LGB people reported less positive patient experiences in areas such as accessible information, psychosocial support, dignity and respect, and management of pain.  For example, they were more likely to feel they had been treated as a set of cancer symptoms rather than as a whole person.  In addition, few studies of any aspect of LGBT people’s health have been conducted in hospital settings, and no previous studies have been conducted about Trans people’s experiences of cancer care.  We would also like to hear about those experiences that you consider ‘positive ones’ so that we can share and learn from them. This study is a first step towards understanding these experiences and improving service provision for LGBT people. 

What will the research involve?

The research team are aiming to interview at least 20 LGBT people who have had a diagnosis of cancer at least three months but less than five years ago.  Participants will be recruited by cancer clinicians in five locations: Nottingham University Hospitals, University Hospitals of Leicester, The Christie Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (Manchester), Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust (Merseyside), and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust (London).  Relevant LGBT and cancer networks may also be used to encourage people to take part in the study.  Interested participants will be contacted by the research team to obtain consent and arrange a suitable time and place for an interview. 

Interviews with participants will explore a range of issues related to LGBT patients’ experiences of their interactions with health professionals. These will include:

  • Decisions about whether to disclose sexuality and/or gender identity to cancer professionals
  • Involving carers or partners in treatment decisions
  • Accessing relevant information
  • Informal social support
  • Formal support and care needs

When is the research taking place?

The research received ethical approval from the Health Research Authority (HRA) in February 2017, and the project will be completed by December 2017. 

Who is involved and how can I find out more?

The project’s Principal Investigator is Prof Julie Fish, with Prof Jayne Brown and Dr Iain Williamson as co-applicants.  The day to day running of the project is being led by Wendy Padley, with support from Katie Bell and Dr Jaqui Long.

For more information, contact the LGBT Cancer Care team at or phone 07708 130866

For a project endorsement please see:

We have contributed a short article to Mac Voice about good practice in supporting LGBT people with cancer, which you can read here

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