Raymond Johnson discovered last month that he was one of the 2,140 men who get breast cancer each year. But when he tried to use the Medicaid-funded Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Act of 2000 to cover his cancer costs, he found out that he didn't meet an eligibility requirement: He wasn't a woman, reports the Post and Courier. "Cancer doesn't discriminate, so this program shouldn't discriminate," Johnson complains.
For breast cancer to be covered, it must be diagnosed by an "early detection" program funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and in South Carolina, the screening program is offered only to women between the ages of 47 and 64. Because men do not qualify for the early screening program, they are not covered by the cancer treatment act. Even South Carolina's Medicaid officials says this is discriminatory, and have called on Medicaid to change its requirements. Officials say, however, that they're powerless to help unless the law is changed. "It was shortsighted to exclude men," said a nurse at the hospital now treating Johnson. (Read more breast cancer stories.)