Prostate cancer in the transgender female population is an area lacking research, adequate clinical trials, and resources for medical professionals. This deficit of knowledge and difficulty accessing services puts the transgender female population at a disadvantage when it comes to being diagnosed with and treated for prostate cancer.
To date, there have only been ten documented cases of transgender women diagnosed with prostate cancer. As a result, little research has been conducted. However, this critical research can grow as long as more cases are cited.
Several systematic and social barriers exist that limit the opportunity for clinical research to be performed to better understand prostate cancer in transgender women. These barriers include exclusive language used during the development of such clinical studies that bar patient inclusion. Factors such as hormone therapy, gender reassignment status, and other exclusive terms further marginalize the transgender population.
Transgender women also experience mistreatment due to the stigma they face from family and healthcare professionals and a lack of financial and social support. Both the transgender population and those ill with cancer are at a higher risk of death by suicide than other populations. These factors combined drastically increase the risk of transgender women with prostate cancer dying by suicide.
In conclusion, several barriers exist that put transgender women at a disadvantage for adequate prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment. Healthcare professionals must provide mental health resources and encourage a support team to decrease the likelihood of patient death by suicide.
A call to action is made for further research and improved patient inclusion in clinical studies. Education for patients, families, and healthcare professionals is necessary to better understand these unique cases .
Source: Deebel, N. A., Morin, J. P., Autorino, R., Vince, R., Grob, B., & Hampton, L. J. (2017). Prostate Cancer in Transgender Women: Incidence, Etiopathogenesis, and Management Challenges. Urology, 110, 166–171. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.urology.2017.08.032