Thought it’s more common in women, men can develop breast cancer. While male breast tissue is not quite as complex and specialized as female mammary glands, malignant tumors can still grow in the breast and metastasize. Raymond Johnson, 26, of South Carolina knows this all too well – and his Medicaid won’t cover treatment.
Breast cancer hits 2,100 men per year
The American Cancer Society estimates that 2,100 U.S. men per year are diagnosed with breast cancer. Some, like Raymond Johnson, are low-income; others are disabled. Both groups often depend upon Medicaid for health insurance. Johnson’s $9-an-hour, 30-hours-per-week tradesman job doesn’t provide insurance, so when he discovered he had breast cancer, he tried for Medicaid, but didn’t qualify.
“I didn’t even know men could get breast cancer,” says Johnson, who discovered he had breast cancer after he went into the ER with chest pains. “I’m young. I didn’t think anything bad could really happen to me.”
He’s young – and he’s a man
Johnson was advised to seek help through the Breast Cancer and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Act, an 11-year-old federal law that earmarks some Medicaid funds for breast or cervical cancel patients who don’t otherwise qualify for Medicaid because their income is too high.
However, as Jeff Stensland of the South Carolina Department for Health and Human Services points out, income wasn’t what disqualified Raymond Johnson. Medicaid denied coverage because he is a man. One of the qualifications for Breast Cancer and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Act funds is that the applicant be female.
“We want to cover this guy,” said Stensland, “but we simply can’t. We are again urging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to reconsider.”
Raymond Johnson’s breast cancer is at Stage II
Stage II breast cancer is Johnson’s current diagnosis. According to BreastCancer.org, the stage is divided into two subcategories, IIA and IIB, depending upon the size of the malignant tumor. As a tumor has been found in his breast, Johnson may be suffering from the more advanced Stage IIB, although additional details are necessary for corroboration. If Stage IIB is the prognosis, the tumor is at least 2 centimeters in size but no larger than 5 centimeters, and it may have already spread to the lymph nodes.
Despite the setback, Johnson told local media that he’s feeling “pretty good,” as he is currently undergoing chemotherapy. Surgery may be necessary for his survival, but he doesn’t know how he’ll pay.
“The bills are going to be huge,” said Johnson.
Raymond Johnson has breast cancer
American Cancer Society: http://bit.ly/cNEBuQ
International Business Times: http://bit.ly/ndPAxh
National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program: http://1.usa.gov/o6GhqT
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