According to RWJBarnabas Health, annual mammography screenings are recommended beginning at age 40 for transgender women who have been taking feminizing hormones for at least five years and transgender men who have not had a mastectomy.
“Transgender women who have been taking gender affirming hormones may be at higher risk for breast cancer than others. They also have a higher prevalence of dense breasts, which is an independent risk factor for breast cancer,” said breast surgeon Dr. Deborah Lue, medical director of breast cancer services at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset’s Steeplechase Cancer Center. “However, many are not getting screened because they feel uncomfortable going to a mammogram provider. Many transgender men also are not getting this important screening.”
Staff at the hospital’s Sanofi US Breast Care Program, located in the Steeplechase Cancer Center, have been specially trained in the care of LGBTQ+ patients and work collaboratively with the hospital’s PROUD Family Health. The center opened in January 2017 as the first in New Jersey to offer specialized primary care services for the LGBTQ+ community and recently expanded into new space on the hospital’s campus.
“Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset is committed to providing the highest quality care in a supportive environment that treats every patient with respect and dignity,” said Paula Gutierrez, director of diversity and inclusion at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset. “Traditional breast cancer risk assessment models do not always fit transgender members and we encourage all members of the LGBTQ+ community to speak with our specialized, medical care providers to determine the screening and prevention measures most appropriate for them.”
The Sanofi US Breast Care Program offers technologies including 3-D mammography, breast ultrasounds, MRI, PET/CT, core breast biopsies, genetic counseling and testing, and breast cancer high risk screening. The program was recently awarded reaccreditation by the American College of Surgeons National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers — one of 25 in New Jersey to earn the three-year full accreditation following a voluntary on-site survey.
No prescriptions are needed for a screening mammogram. Morning, evening and Saturday appointments are available.