Primary Prevention of Cancer-Causing Substance Use in Gender Minority People of Canada

Principal Investigator: Dr. Trevor Dummer & Ace Chan

Affiliation: University of British Columbia

Start Year: 2022

About 50% of cancer diagnoses are preventable by adopting healthy lifestyle behaviours such as limiting the consumption of alcohol and tobacco. World-renowned cancer research organizations have reported that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption or cigarette smoking that does not increase the risk of developing cancer. Gender minority (GM) people—people that have a gender identity that is different from their sex assigned at birth such as transgender men or transgender women—have a higher risk of developing cancer. Studies outside of Canada have demonstrated that this community has higher rates of cancer-causing substance use. One explanation for these higher rates is that there are additional stressors that GM people are exposed to since they are a minority group. More research needs to be done, as data on Canadian GM people is limited as many surveys do not include a question that asks participants about their gender identity. This study will utilize data from The Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow’s Health (CanPath), a national longitudinal dataset, to explore the rates of alcohol consumption, tobacco use, cancer risk factors, and cancer diagnoses in GM people, compared to non-GM people. This data will also be used to determine how the rates of alcohol consumption and tobacco use changed in GM communities, since the COVID-19 pandemic, compared to non-GM communities. The results of this research will help researchers understand what resources need to be made available, and what types of policies can be developed to decrease cancer risk in GM communities.