Rae Spoon is a non-binary Victoria-based singer-songwriter. They were diagnosed with cervical cancer in early 2020. Rae subsequently underwent chemotherapy and external and internal radiotherapy (brachytherapy) in BC. Being diagnosed with what is often a highly gendered cancer highlighted how the cancer system is not designed to offer equal care for gender-variant people.
Rae writes about what that experience was like, and how the system has been (slowly) changed since they had treatment on the blogging platform Medium:
“The lurch of seeing the way my cancer was being gendered on the BC Cancer Centre set off a chain reaction in my body. The dread of being hit and the being hit are two different hells. All of my memories of being disrespected and abused are connected. One of my greatest pursuits is to try to untangle them, but when I feel cornered they’re indivisible. I knew I had no choice but to go to the BC Cancer Centre if I wanted treatment. I became petrified before I met any of the staff who may well be non-binary themselves. I contemplated not going. I calculated the slow suicide of refusing treatment against the torment of being invisible.”
They also share some articles and studies discussing issues with increased cancer risks in screening and treatment for gender and sexually variant people.