With all the black men that are showing the signs of gynecomastia (over 71% of black men are either obese or overweight), it’s time to raise awareness among men about a very serious threat to their health — breast cancer.
According to the Post & Courier, Raymond Johnson, who applied for coverage under the federal Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Act, was denied treatment for his diagnosed breast cancer because he’s a male.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which administers the coverage, rejected him because patients have to be diagnosed via specific early detection programs — and those programs are only open to women.
Johnson is understandably shocked and appalled:
“Cancer doesn’t discriminate, so this program shouldn’t discriminate.”
The rigidity of state programs are hurting people that may not fit into the federal guidelines, which are meant to help a wide range of people. In South Carolina, the state where Johnson resides, such screening is offered to uninsured women between the ages of 47 and 64 who meet certain income guidelines.
The Health and Human Services Department questioned the requirement more than two years ago, when it attempted to extend Medicaid coverage to a man who had breast cancer. In South Carolina, three men met all the eligibility requirements, but were denied simply because of their gender.
The American Cancer Society estimates that 2,140 new cases of breast cancer in men are diagnosed annually in the U.S.
Black men are falling victim to heart disease, cancer, and stroke at alarming rates, and many doctors are sighting the lifestyle choices as the primary reason for the spike in illness. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, black men are disproportionally living in poor conditions, without living wage employment, which, as reports continue to show, is a contributing factor to the lack significant choices many black men have to nourish their bodies.
For more information on breast cancer and early detection, check out The Denise Roberts Breast Cancer Foundation, which serves the uninsured millions of Americans.