A 26-year-old South Carolina man received a surprising diagnosis of breast cancer after he visited an emergency room for throbbing chest pain last month.
But what came next surprised Raymond Johnson even more: He discovered he is ineligible for the Medicaid program that covers treatments for breast cancer because he is a man, according to news reports.
Johnson is uninsured, and in order to afford the treatments, his patient advocate suggested he look into a federal program that could help. The Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Act uses Medicaid funds to cover breast and ovarian cancer treatment costs for people who can't afford it, The Post and Courier reported. But a stipulation lies with receiving those funds: you must be a woman.
"Cancer doesn't discriminate, so this program shouldn't discriminate," Johnson told The Post and Courier.
The S.C. Department of Health and Human Services says they recognize there's a problem, and has contacted the federal government for help, ABC News 4 reported. But in the meantime, Johnson is stuck with bills for chemotherapy treatments that cost around $10,000 each.
Breast cancer in men is about 100 times less common than in women, but there are still about 2,140 new cases a year, according to the American Cancer Society. And each year, 450 men die from breast cancer.
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