Cancer charity under fire for ‘female prostate’ social media post

Cancer charity The Marie Keating foundation has come under fire after it made a social media post featuring a trans-identified male who identifies as a woman.

The charity featured the story of Denise Breen saying, “Denise Breen tells us why it’s important that not just men over 40 should be aware of #prostatecancer.”

“We are so grateful to Denise for sharing her story and support,” it said.

A feature article posted on the charity’s website about Denise says, “Having been assigned male at birth and despite surgery to correct that error, Denise has a prostate. Most transgender women do, as do some intersex and non-binary people. That’s ok. Nature is weird and wonderful sometimes. It is infinite in its diversity and combinations. Nowadays as well as getting her regular screenings such as BreastCheck, Denise gets a regular Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test at her local GP’s office.”


“Denise has had to repeat her PSA test numerous times because the lab sees the label “female” and throws it in the bin, assuming an error. This is why education is so important: education for medical staff and laboratory technicians – to understand that a simple XX/XY chromosomal binary is a very narrow definition of human nature and biology. It defines the majority but not a significant minority,” it says. 


Twitter users quickly reacted enquiring why the charity seemed to be claiming that women have a prostate with one commenter saying, “Should women over 40 be wasting the doctors time asking for prostate checks?” accompanied with a confused emoji face, and in a subsequent post asking why Denise has a prostate if “he” is a woman.

Another commenter said, ”This isn’t right at all.Respectfully,Denise is biologically male. Only men have [a] prostate,women do not have a prostate. Therefore it is men and only men who need to be aware of prostate cancer.”

“He’s a man. Please stop lying.” said another reply. 


One woman replied, “”Denise is no ordinary woman” Is that the understatement of the year. Cancer is a horrible disease that robs people of loved ones While I’m glad that Denise is living a healthy and hopefully happy life This is gaslighting and lie after lie NO Women get prostate cancer,”

The Marie Keating Foundation hit back at the criticism accusing commenters of “hate speech” saying,

“We will not respond to hate speech or discrimination. Cancer does not discriminate and we are here for EVERYONE and every step of a cancer journey. Early detection is key in every community and this can only be achieved by including a diverse range of experiences and journeys.”

“Prostate cancer awareness is important to everyone born with a prostate. Men & those born male or assigned male at birth. A woman who was assigned male at birth has a prostate. We are highlighting that everyone with a prostate needs to get their PSA checked,” it said.


A man who said he was suffering from cancer replied, “I’m in Ireland and dealing with stage 4 cancer at the age of 41. It would be good if you could focus on the huge number of cancer cases caused by lockdown, and the scan delays. You insult actual cancer sufferers by instead spending time on kids’ identity woes,”


Another commenter said, “Get a grip on yourselves. Denise was born male, no one made a mistake. Denise is a man who identifies as a woman. Denise is not female. No woman (adult human female) has a prostate and therefore doesn’t need to be checked. This is so embarrassing that you try to gaslight people,” 

“Please stop trying to be down with the ‘trendy’ youth. Healthcare is too important . Healthcare is based on real biology, not half-baked ‘feelings’. People die when that is misrepresented to them. You and others like you will have a lot to answer for,” said another.

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