A Primary Care Trust in London has produced information leaflets about cancer specifically for lesbians and gay men.

This is the first time an NHS organisation has produced such leaflets.

The Barking and Dagenham Primary Care Trust developed them in association with the Gay and Lesbian Association of Doctors and Dentists (GLADD).

Entitled Gay Men and Cancer and Lesbians and Cancer, they are the newest additions to the PCT’s A Guide to Cancer series.

Cancer directly affects one in three people in the UK and some particular cancers seem to be more common in gay men and lesbians, who are often more reluctant to seek early medical help, than in heterosexuals.

The new leaflets explain the risk factors for gay men and lesbians – for example, a higher risk of anal cancer in HIV-positive gay men – and explain simple things they can do that might save their lives, such as checking for lumps and attending screening appointments.

Matthew Cole, Director of Health Improvement for Barking and Dagenham PCT said:

“We hope these leaflets will ultimately reduce the prevalence of cancer in the gay and lesbian community, by increasing awareness of the risk factors.”

The leaflets are currently being distributed throughout the borough in GP surgeries, libraries, health centres, hospitals, and pharmacies.

They are also available to view on and download from the PCT website: www.bdpct.nhs.uk.