South Florida Hospital News
Sunday May 31, 2020

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May 2020 - Volume 16 - Issue 11




National Institutes of Health awards FIU grant to study cancer screening among transgender Latinos

September 19, 2019 – While transgender men and women have a higher risk of breast and cervical cancer, internalized stigma related to body image and gender identity may make them less likely to undergo preventive screenings for the disease.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded a team of social scientists from FIU’s Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA) a $398,000 grant to study barriers to such screenings and how culturally sensitive, targeted interventions can support transgender persons in overcoming these barriers.
More than 1.7 million new cases of cancer are diagnosed in the United States and its territories each year and 37 percent of those are from breast and cervical cancer. Cancer is also one of the leading causes of deaths among Latinos.
The World Health Organization has noted a measurably higher risk of breast and cervical cancer faced by transgender men who retain their genitalia of birth. For transgender women, the development of breast tissue due to hormonal treatment may also increase the risk of breast cancer.
“Transgender men and transgender women have been under-studied with regard to reproductive cancer risk and there is very little information on how the disease affects their lives,’’ said Sheilla Rodriguez Madera, a professor in the Green School’s Department of Global & Sociocultural Studies and one of the principal investigators of the project, along with professors Mark Padilla and Nelson Varas-Diaz. “Cancer screening is one of the most important behaviors for the prevention of this condition.’’
A collaboration with researchers in Puerto Rico and San Francisco, the study will focus on Latino transgender communities in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Miami, with the aim of reducing health disparities experienced by these populations.
The project draws upon transgender theory, which aims to understand how transgendered persons’ experiences can impact their health care decisions.
“We expect the gathered data will contribute to the understanding of multilevel barriers for breast and uterine cervix cancer among transgender women and transgender men and the future development of an intervention to address them,’’ Rodriguez Madera said.
Funded by the National Cancer Institute, a part of the NIH, the project is a collaboration between FIU and the Ponce Health Sciences University School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences in Puerto Rico and the University of California at San Francisco’s Center for HIV Prevention Studies.
About the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs:
Launched in 2008, the Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs at FIU educates the leaders and changemakers of tomorrow through innovative teaching and research that advances global understanding, contributes to policy solutions and promotes international dialogue. One of the leading schools of its kind in the world, the Green School enrolls more than 5,000 students and employs 360 faculty. It offers 38 interdisciplinary degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels, as well as 35 undergraduate and graduate certificate programs. The Green School encompasses eight signature departments: Criminology and Criminal Justice, Economics, Global and Sociocultural Studies, History, Modern Languages, Politics and International Relations, Public Policy and Administration and Religious Studies. Home to 16 of the university’s most prominent international centers, institutes and programs, the Green School is an affiliate member of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA).
About FIU:
Florida International University is Miami’s public research university. FIU is focused on student success. According to U.S. News and World Report, FIU has 35 programs in the top 100 in the nation among public universities, including 15 in the top 50. FIU is a top U.S. research university with more than $200 million in annual expenditures and is designated as an “Emerging Preeminent State Research University” by the Florida Board of Governors. FIU ranks 15th in the nation among public universities for patent production, which drives innovation, and is one of the institutions that helps make Florida the top state for higher education. The Next Horizon fundraising campaign is furthering FIU’s commitment to providing students Worlds Ahead opportunities. Today, FIU has two campuses and multiple centers, and supports artistic and cultural engagement through its three museums: Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum, the Wolfsonian-FIU, and the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU. FIU is a member of Conference USA, with more than 400 student-athletes participating in 18 sports. The university has awarded more than 330,000 degrees to many leaders in South Florida and beyond. For more information about FIU, visit
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