Trans people not immune to breast cancer, cautions Dr Shingai

Breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer worldwide, explains urologist Dr Shingai Mutambirwa.

Mutambirwa advises that even individuals who change their sex, as a result of gender dysphoria, are still susceptible to breast cancer.

Transgendered (trans) refers to people whose gender identity does not conform with their assigned sex at birth.

Cisgendered (cis) refers to persons whose gender identity aligns with their assigned sex at birth.

During breast cancer awareness month, he says it's important to highlight the risks that both transgendered and cisgendered people face.

He explains that female's who transition into men are often encouraged to have a mastectomy to remove the breasts.

However, this only reduces the risk - it doesn't eliminate it.

Even in those patients, there is still going to be some breast tissue there. And there's still a risk for breast cancer.

Dr Shingai Mutambirwa, urologist and sexual health expert

According to Mutambirwa, while cis men are also vulnerable to breast cancer, it is trans men that are at a greater risk.

1% of breasts cancers actually occur in men.

Dr Shingai Mutambirwa, urologist and sexual health expert

In addition, transgender men are given high doses of estrogen hormones which can increase their vulnerability.

Transgender people often don't think they will be having the same problems. They don't consider the fact that their breast tissue can become malignant as well.

Dr Shingai Mutambirwa, urologist and sexual health expert

Aside from the medical complications of the transition process, Mutambirwa explains that social stigma can make seeking professional help prohibitive for trans people.

Listen to the full conversation from The Redi Tlhabi Show (with Africa Melane):

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