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GLAONS Survey of Oncology Nurses Reveals Knowledge Gap Regarding Genetic Evaluation and LGBTQIA+ Cancer Care

In September 2022, i3 Health conducted a survey of 157 oncology nurses at the Greater Los Angeles Oncology Nursing Society (GLAONS) 6th Annual Oncology Care Summit to assess nurses' familiarity with and desire to understand genetic evaluation and counseling and LGBTQIA+ cancer care.

Through genetic evaluation and counseling care, patients can better understand their genome and how their DNA might be able to warn them, and even their family, about their risks of developing certain cancers and diseases. These types of procedures can be highly beneficial to patients with cancer, as well as individuals undergoing screening, to better understand their needs, and it is crucial for oncology nurses to be aware of these kinds of tests and how this knowledge can improve their patients' lives.

Out of the 157 oncology nurses surveyed at the GLAONS Oncology Care Summit, 131 (83%) of them reported seeing patients who may benefit from a referral for genetic evaluation. However, only 41 (26%) indicated high confidence in identifying patients who might benefit from cancer genetic referral, followed by 57 (36%) indicating moderate confidence, 43 (27%) slight confidence, and 16 (10%) no confidence.

Despite nearly every doctor and nurse having LGBTQIA+ individuals as patients, the National LGBT Cancer Network explains that the LGBTQIA+ community faces prevalent disparities and a disproportionate burden in cancer treatment and care. As of now, there are no surveys or data collections being gathered by large national cancer registries regarding cancer incidence in sexual or gender minorities, posing a major detriment to the LGBTQIA+ community by leaving them without the extent of knowledge these kinds of surveys and data collections reveal. Therefore, it would be beneficial for oncology nurses to bolster their knowledge of these burdens to better help and care for the LGBTQIA+ cancer community.

Out of the 157 oncology nurses surveyed at the GLAONS Oncology Care Summit, only 38 (24%) indicated a high knowledge level in treating the health needs of LGBTQIA+ patients, followed by 73 (46%) indicating a moderate knowledge level, 36 (23%) a slight knowledge level, and 5 (3%) with no knowledge level. Regarding comfortability in caring for LGBTQIA+ patients, 79 nurses (50%) reported being very comfortable, 52 (33%) moderately comfortable, 21 (13%) slightly comfortable, and 5 (3%) not comfortable.

Overall, 124 nurses (79%) reported that they would like to receive more education on genetic testing, and 114 nurses (73%) reported that they would like to receive more education on the health needs of LGBTQIA+ patients to enhance their oncology practice. 

Resources

i3 Health (2022). GLAONS Survey Data. Data on file.


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