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  • LGBTQ Patient Care and Support at Dana-Farber

    At Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, we know that the LGBTQ community faces unique challenges and health disparities, and we work to provide care that addresses each person's cancer in the context of their lives.

    LGBTQ patients are at a higher risk for certain types of cancers, including Kaposi sarcoma, cervical, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma, lung, liver, anal, and some others. As one of the world's foremost cancer centers treating these types of cancer – and as a leader in providing equitable care and strong advocacy for LGBTQ patients – Dana-Farber is in a unique position to serve the LGBTQ community.

    Dana-Farber provides the latest, most innovative treatment available to LGBTQ patients challenged with cancer, as well as compassion and support to their families and loved ones:

    • Our world-renowned specialists provide comprehensive, personalized cancer care and support.
    • Our clinical researchers offer unique clinical trials in the cancers to which LGBTQ patients are most at risk.
    • Our viral immunology researchers lead the field in HIV- and AIDS-related research breakthroughs.

    Dana-Farber's Commitment to LGBTQ Patients

    Our specialists provide world-renowned, expert cancer care – including for diagnoses that disproportionately affect the LGBTQ community. For patients of all genders and sexualities, we are committed to providing comprehensive, personalized, and compassionate cancer care that's as unique as you are.

    Read a brochure about care for LGBTQ patients at Dana-Farber.

    About LGBTQ Patient Care at Dana-Farber

    LGBTQ employees next to a rainbow flag

    To support our LGBTQ patients and their families, we offer the following information and resources:

    • LGBTQ-friendly provider directory: Access to a list of Dana-Farber providers who are particularly interested in treating LGBTQ patients.
    • Policies supporting LGBTQ patient care: A comprehensive list of Dana-Farber policies that deliver on our commitment to treating LGBTQ patients with the same high level of dignity and quality of care that all our patients deserve and receive.
    • Description of Dana-Farber's LGBTQ community: Information about the Dana-Farber LGBTQ community and its advocacy for Dana-Farber patients, families, and staff.
    • Online resources: A compilation of online resources focused on care and information for LGBTQ patients who are challenged by cancer.

    For questions, concerns, or more information about patient care for the LGBTQ community at Dana-Farber, please contact the staff of Dana-Farber Patient/Family Relations at 617-632-3417 or email patientfamily_relations@dfci.harvard.edu. Our staff aims to provide help, sensitivity, and compassion to LGBTQ patients, their families, and loved ones.

    patient Chelsea

    Chelsea's story

    I initially had some difficulty processing my lymphoma diagnosis. I had my first chemotherapy in NH, but then switched to DFCI to be closer to friends. I felt welcomed by the staff, who enjoyed the lovely formal dresses I chose to wear to help me feel pretty during such an arduous time. The acceptance and respectful treatment I received at DFCI confirmed every positive thing I'd heard about the quality of the care there.

    — Chelsea



     

    LGBTQ-Friendly Dana-Farber Clinicians and Staff

    The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation has regularly recognized Dana-Farber as a Health Equity Index Top Performing Healthcare Facility based on our approach to, and practices for, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community.

    Dana-Farber specialists provide expert treatment, care, compassion, and understanding for the types of cancers for which LGBTQ patients are at particular risk.

    LGBTQ-friendly clinician/staff directory

    Many Dana-Farber clinicians and staff have indicated a special interest in treating and caring for LGBTQ patients. View our LGBTQ-friendly Clinician/Staff Directory.

    Laura and her family

    Laura's Story

    Before we knew our son had cancer, we brought him into the ER, where he was initially diagnosed with a sinus infection, although they did additional bloodwork to confirm nothing else was wrong. When the results came through (showing that he had ALL), a nurse called our home, but refused to give me the results, even though I was legally his parent. It made an already traumatizing situation so much worse. We are so grateful that we never experienced anything like that during his time at the Jimmy Fund Clinic. The fact that our son had two moms was just never an issue. It was really amazing.

    — Laura, mother of a survivor of pediatric acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)

     

    Dana-Farber's Commitment to LGBTQ Equality and Equity

    LGBTQ employees at the Gay Pride Parade

    Dana-Farber's commitment to equity and equality for LGBTQ patients is a critical aspect of our Institute's overall leadership in diversity and patient rights.

    We deliver on our commitment to treating LGBTQ patients with the same dignity and quality of care that all our patients deserve through policies like these:

    • Equal visitation: Dana-Farber's visitation policy is focused on creating a welcoming, supportive, and safe environment for our patients, families, visitors, and staff while respecting the healthcare needs and confidentiality of our patients. A support person is defined as any person present to support the patient during their visit, including same-sex significant others and domestic partners. There is no requirement that the support person be legally related to the patient.
    • Non-discrimination: Dana-Farber's "Patient Rights and Responsibilities" affirms our commitment to serving all patients, and states specifically that this is without regard to sex, marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity/expression. Read our full "Rights and Responsibilities" statement.
    • Diverse workforce: As an employer, Dana-Farber affirms the right of every qualified applicant to receive consideration for employment, and states specifically that this is without regard to sex, gender identity/expression, or genetic information. Read our full non-discrimination statement.
    • Right to self-identification: Dana-Farber's electronical medical record provides the option to record sexual orientation, assigned sex at birth, and current gender identity, and staff are trained in how to collect this information appropriately and respectfully.
    patient Anna

    Anna's Story

    When my partner and I first met with my social worker at Dana-Farber, Kelly Giles, she told us that her job was to help us stay strong and connected as a family unit. This acknowledgement of us, as a family, allowed us to focus on my diagnosis, treatment, and recovery and never once worry about being accepted for anything than what we were, a family. We were just like any other family, and that normalcy was so powerful. My oncologist, social worker, chemo nurse, and lab nurse not only made us feel comfortable and accepted but helped us find strength on the hard days and celebrated with us on the joyous days.

    — Anna

     

    LGBTQ Patient Advocacy through Community

    There is an active and thriving LGBTQ community at Dana-Farber that includes patients, staff, and volunteers. This community is anchored by the Dana-Farber LGBT & Friends Employee Resource Group (ERG).

    The ERG's mission is to foster an inclusive and supportive environment at Dana-Farber for people across the spectrums of sexuality and gender, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer.

    The Dana-Farber ERG works to fulfill its mission by:

    • Advocating for Dana-Farber LGBTQ patients – helping to define and monitor equity and equality for LGBTQ patients and their families
    • Promoting Dana-Farber Cancer Institute as an ally for LGBTQ patients and families, as well as for Institute staff
    • Increasing internal awareness and visibility of the LGBTQ community at Dana-Farber
    • Supporting LGBTQ organizations and efforts within the Greater Boston health care community

    Any patient or member of the Dana-Farber community is welcome to reach out to the LGBT & Friends group for advice, support, or questions. Current co-chairs are Sarah Winawer-Wetzel and Robert Mersereau. To reach Sarah or Robert, please email dfciask_LGBT@dfci.harvard.edu.

    For questions, concerns, or more information about patient care for the LGBTQ community at Dana-Farber, please contact the staff of Dana-Farber Patient/Family Relations at 617-632-3417 or email patientfamily_relations@dfci.harvard.edu. Our staff aims to provide help, sensitivity, and compassion to LGBTQ patients, their families, and loved ones.

    patient Tara

    Tara's Story

    Right from our first visit with my neuro-oncologist at Dana-Farber, my wife and I were welcomed and treated with dignity and compassion. We quickly felt reassured that our relationship was not only respected, but also deeply supported and identified as a valuable resource for me as I learn to live with my cancer diagnosis. The kindness and acceptance we've felt along the way extends beyond our direct care team and is truly embedded into the foundation of what Dana-Farber stands for. Whether we were asking for help at the information desks, looking to commemorate small victories at the gift shops, or paying for parking, I never felt I needed to add intolerance and discrimination to my list of worries when seeking cancer care at Dana Farber. I could not be more grateful to have access to such an innovative cancer center that is a leader in both research and people-centered care of the entire person. Thank you, Dana-Farber!

    — Tara

     

    Resources for LGBTQ Patients and Families

    National resources

    Dana-Farber resources of particular interest to the LGBTQ community

    Treatment, care, and risk reduction

    Dana-Farber clinical trials of particular relevance

    Dana-Farber research of particular relevance

     
     
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  • Make an Appointment

    • For adults:
      877-442-3324 (877-442-DFCI)

    • Quick access:
      Appointments as soon as the next day for new adult patients


    • For children:
      888-733-4662 (888-PEDI-ONC)

    • Make Appointment Online
  • Top LGBT Healthcare Equality Index Ranking

    • Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality logo
    • Dana-Farber earned top marks in the Healthcare Equality Index for its commitment to providing equitable, inclusive care for LGBT patients.