Trans men & screening for cancer in the chest area

You want to feel good about your chest. And you want to know your body well enough to know if something is wrong, even if you’ve had chest surgery. Brady

*Cancer in the chest area. It’s not something that any of us like to think about, but for many trans men and people on the trans masculine (female-to-male/FtM) spectrum, screening for cancer in the chest area comes with particular concerns.

It can be hard to make chest cancer screening a priority, especially if the process is at odds with your gender identity. Maybe you’re concerned that you may experience transphobia at the screening facility. Perhaps you’re worried that having a mammogram could be uncomfortable or upsetting. Or, maybe you just don’t want to think about cancer.

If you’re a trans guy aged 50 to 69, though, it’s important to get screened for cancer in the chest area. This means finding cancer before there are any symptoms by getting a mammogram every two years. Even if you’ve had top surgery, you still need to monitor the health of your chest tissue. So, is screening worth the hassle and discomfort? The answer is yes. Because your health is worth it. Because your body is worth it. Because cancer doesn’t discriminate. Because screening saves lives.

*A note on terminology: In the trans men sections of this website, we refer to cancer in chest tissue as cancer of the chest, and to the tissue itself as chest tissue. This is because we recognize that many trans men and people on the transmasculine spectrum do not identify as having breasts, feel ambivalent about having breasts and prefer the term “chest” on its own. Although we use this terminology where appropriate, we also recognize the fact that some trans men do have breasts.