Breast screens for trans women stirs debate

September 13, 2010

Breast screening habits for transsexual women shouldn't differ from those of biological women, according to a recent European study.

Breast screening habits for transsexual women shouldn't differ from those of biological women, according to a recent European study. However, a human sexuality expert disagrees, saying screening for transsexual women should depend on when the patient started estrogen therapy and not age alone.

The researchers found mammography and breast sonography were technically feasible in the 50 women who received sex-reassignment surgery. No gross anomalies were detected. In addition, 98% of the patients intended to come back for screening (EJR 2010;74:
508-513).

The study recommended a normal screening regimen for transsexual women. The mean age of study subjects was 43 ± 10.5 years.

Not everyone agrees with the study's conclusions, however.

Screening mammography for transsexual women should start at age 50, provided they have had five years of hormone therapy, said Dr. Jamie Feldman, an associate professor in the human sexuality program at the University of Minnesota.