It takes more than rainbows: Supporting sexual and gender minority patients with trauma-informed cancer care

Laura Sinko, Lauren V. Ghazal, Alex Fauer, Christopher Wheldon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background/Purpose: The American Society of Clinical Oncology has called for an increased priority to improve cancer care for sexual and gender minority (SGM) populations because of heightened risk of receiving disparate treatment and having suboptimal experiences, including perceived discrimination. We demonstrate how integrating trauma-informed care (TIC) principles across the cancer continuum is a key strategy to improving care delivery and outcomes among SGM populations. Method: This empirically informed perspective expands on the concepts generated through the American Society of Clinical Oncology position statement and uses the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association’s “Four Rs” Toward Trauma Informed Care: Realize, Recognize, Response, and Resist Traumatization. Results: Recommendations for each component of TIC include: (1) Realize: Implement SGM cultural humility training, including modules on SGM-specific trauma, discrimination, harassment, and violence; (2) Recognize: Routinely screen for emotional distress using methods to ensure privacy, and/or normalize mental health screenings to cancer patients; (3) Respond: Create and widely disseminate policies and patients’ rights that prohibit discrimination and ensure access to gender-neutral clinical environments; and (4) Resist Traumatization: Establish and respond to quality metrics (e.g., standardized patients, patient satisfaction surveys) that are informed by a community advisory board with the purpose of ensuring and maintaining quality care. Conclusions and Implications: Integrating TIC principles into cancer care for SGM populations is crucial to address disparities in treatment and clinical outcomes. Our recommendations offer practical approaches for oncology teams to implement TIC care and ensure equitable and inclusive cancer care for patients and their families.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-516
Number of pages10
Issue number4
Early online dateOct 27 2023
StatePublished - Feb 15 2024


  • cancer survivors
  • sexual and gender minority
  • trauma informed care
  • Gender Identity
  • Medical Oncology
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Neoplasms/therapy
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities
  • Humans


Dive into the research topics of 'It takes more than rainbows: Supporting sexual and gender minority patients with trauma-informed cancer care'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this