The Get Screened Campaign

Cancer screening can save your life by detecting cancer early when it’s most treatable.

Get Screened aims to increase colon, breast and cervical cancer screening rates among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) communities in Hamilton, Ottawa and Toronto.

Why LGBTQ communities?

  • LGBTQ communities are less likely to get screened than our non-trans and heterosexual counterparts. This means that we have a higher risk of dying from these cancers.
  • LGBTQ communities have multiple risk factors for getting cancer, such as higher smoking rates.
  • It is difficult for us to find health information that speaks to our realities.
  • A major barrier to getting screened for our communities is that some health care settings aren’t inclusive or welcoming to us.

Why these three cancers?

  • There is a lot of evidence supporting the effectiveness of screening for colon, breast and cervical cancers at a population level. This means that for the general population as a whole, these three screening tests have been proven to have more benefits (i.e.: save lives) than drawbacks.
  • Screening tests exist for other types of cancers as well. As the recommendations for these screening tests are often based on your own medical and personal history, the Canadian Cancer Society would not be able to promote them to LGBTQ communities as whole. Therefore, you should speak to your doctor about the benefits and risks associated with other cancer screening tests based on you own medical and personal history.
  • You can find more information about other types of cancers and early detection at

Get Screened aims to address the barriers that LGBTQ communities experience in getting screened. Get Screened will:

  • Raise awareness about the importance of screening by training volunteer LGBTQ health ambassadors to speak to their friends, families and social networks in every day, natural settings about it. For more details, check out our Volunteer Opportunities
  • Develop LGBTQ-specific cancer prevention materials, such as this website, posters and postcards.
  • Provide anti-homophobia and anti-transphobia training for health care providers
  • Organize LGBTQ-specific cancer screening opportunities

Get Screened invites members of LGBTQ communities in Ottawa, Toronto and Hamilton to make cancer history and find out how to get involved in providing screening information, encouragement and support to their friends, families, communities and partner(s).

What is Screening Saves Lives?

Get Screened is a part of the Canadian Cancer Society’s Screening Saves Lives program

Screening Saves Lives:

  • Uses a successful peer-to-peer model to improve the cancer screening rates of communities that are less likely to get screened in Ontario
  • Recruits volunteer Health Ambassadors from under- and never-screened communities
  • Health Ambassadors are equipped with cancer screening and health promotion knowledge
  • Health Ambassadors share screening messages with their friends, families, partner(s) and other members of their social networks
  • Health Ambassadors Possess unique understandings of the social, cultural, geographic and economic factors that affect health decisions that their peers are making
  • Their lived experiences make them qualified to provide culturally appropriate screening messages to their peers
  • Works in partnership with advisory committees, community-based organizations, and researchers to identity and address barriers to cancer screening and develop and share best practices.
  • Currently runs peer-to-peer based health promotion initiatives in Northern Ontario (Sudbury), on Manitoulin Island (First Nations communities), in Peel (with South Asian Communities) and in Hamilton, Ottawa and Toronto (LGBTQ communities)
  • Was adapted from the North Carolina Breast Cancer Screening Program

For more information on Screening Saves Lives, this LGBTQ Initiative or to become a volunteer Health Ambassador contact at

The Screening Saves Lives LGBTQ health promotion initiative is supported by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Canadian Cancer Society