Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revises guidance to include preventive screenings for transgender women

The Task Force applauds a decision on Friday, December 20, 2013 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) to update its policy on breast cancer screenings to include transgender women (male to female) who have taken or are taking hormones and meet all program eligibility requirements. The policy already extended to transgender men (female to male) but failed to include transgender women. Now, the policy would provide breast cancer screening and diagnostic services through the NBCCEDP where federal funds are used to pay for these screening and diagnostics for transgender women as well.

Upon being contacted by several advocacy groups including the Task Force, the CDC worked with the groups to change its’ policy within less than two months. The Task Force initiated action after receiving concerns from a transgender woman in Colorado that had been denied a routine breast screening due to the policy.

While the data is limited regarding the risk of breast cancer for transgender women; it’s clear from studies that evidence of long term hormone use increases the risk of breast cancer. The Center for Excellence for Transgender Health and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health have consensus recommendations for preventative care which you can read here.

Thanks to Matthew G. Heinz, MD, Director Provider Outreach, Office of Intergovernmental & External Affairs US Department of Health & Human Services and Jacqueline W. Miller, MD, Medical Director, NBCCEDP for their responsiveness.