The Canadian Cancer Society is reaching out to Ottawa's lesbian gay bisexual and transgender community in response to stats that show LGBT people don't often test for cancer.
The Canadian Cancer Society's Screening Saves Lives campaign will recruit 'Health Ambassadors,' people who have gone through the screening process for breast, colon and cervical cancer and can promote it among their peers.
"We're going to save lives, it can't get more critical than that," said Marie Robertson, a community developer with the Ottawa Senior Pride Network.
She was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 1979 and had little support as a lesbian cancer patient.
Robertson said the Screening Saves Lives program is important for the LGBT community that still faces barriers to health care.
"There's a mythology that lesbians for instance don't need to get pap smears, I personally was told that within the last three years here in Ottawa," said Robertson.
The society said it's important that volunteer health ambassadors understand the needs of the LGBT community.
"There's very unique and challenging barriers that the community is facing when it comes to cancer screening," said Kevin Linn, spokesperson for the Canadian Cancer Society in Ottawa.
"A lot of those barriers are in the promotion of those programs. So a lot of community members do not see themselves when it comes to the messaging, promoting the programs," said Linn.
"So there is really no one better to address those barriers than community members themselves," said Linn.
The Screening Saves Lives program is already up and running for First Nation and South Asian groups.
Volunteers interested in working with the cancer society should go to its website.
The Health Ambassador program gets underway next month.