Healthcare News & Insights

Aid program won’t pay for man’s breast cancer treatment


Being a 26-year-old with breast cancer is unlucky enough. When patient aid programs refuse to help because you’re a man it seems doubly unfair.

That’s the exact situation Raymond Johnson finds himself in. Johnson, a tile layer in Charleston, South Carolina, found a small lump in his chest about a month ago and ignored it, thinking it was a harmless cyst. But later, after he went to the emergency department with chest pain, he was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Johnson is uninsured and can’t afford the $10,000-a-pop chemotherapy treatments he needs, so the patient advocate at Charleston Cancer Center applied on his behalf to a state program, funded by the federal government, that provides assistance to breast cancer patients. But Johnson was rejected because he’s a man.

For now, Johnson is receiving treatment and hoping to find a way to pay the bills before he’s financially ruined. DHS has acknowledged there’s a problem in how male patients are screened by the program and is working to find a solution.

Anyone who wants to help can contact Johnson’s patient advocate, Susan Appelbaum, at the Charleston Cancer Center at 843-876-1353.

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