Breast cancer is not commonly associated with men, but according to CDC statistics, over 2,000 men, representing about one percent of cases, are diagnosed with the disease each year. Raymond Johnson, a twenty-six-year-old tile layer from South Carolina, is one of those men.

Johnson was diagnosed with breast cancer about a month ago, and doesn't receive health insurance through his job. A patient advocate from the Charleston Cancer Center, Susan Appelbaum, applied to a state program that provides Medicaid for breast cancer patients on Johnson's behalf, but Johnson was denied because he's a man. He recently underwent his second round of chemotherapy, which runs around $10,000 a treatment, and will need several more.

South Carolina's Dept. of Health & Human Services has complained to the federal government on numerous occasions that the policy is discriminatory, and it does appear to be gender discrimination, albeit the reverse of what we normally see. Medicaid can be fickle about which kinds of cancer they cover as well. Johnson, at the very least, should reapply to the program, and could be looking at a possible lawsuit. Things may be trickier considering the overall economic climate, but it would be unfortunate to see a decent, hardworking person financially devastated because of his DNA.


Commentarium (101 Comments)

Aug 06 11 - 7:06pm

If a woman were being denied treatment, there would be a shitstorm of angry women and those male feminists.

Aug 07 11 - 4:35am

I've seen a lot of women angry about this, I don't know about you. Why wouldn't women be upset about this? A human being with an illness is being denied treatment of a disease they obviously have due to their gender. It has nothing to do with whether or not they are male or female as feminists are for equal rights of ALL GENDERS. Cis, trans, etc.

Aug 07 11 - 10:12pm
T Jensen

I'm a woman, and I'm angry as hell about this. Any sensible human being would be. You're the only one here trying to make it a gender battle, so grow up.

There's something seriously wrong with any agency able to declare that as a patient, a sick person has no right to treatment because of gender. In this case it's like handing the poor man a death sentence. It's horrible. Medicaid needs some serious updating in its policies. Breast cancer is by no means unheard of in men.

Aug 08 11 - 1:27am
Joey H.

Agree 100% with T. Think about it: don't you see that women could be especially empathetic with men who have breast cancer? That we're angry because we don't like seeing ANY breast cancer patient treated this way? I understand you're trolling, but I think you can do better than that weaksauce attempt.

Aug 08 11 - 9:40am

I read about this story on a feminist website. Of course this kind of treatment makes feminists angry!

Aug 08 11 - 9:36pm

What all they said ^

Aug 06 11 - 10:20pm

If it were a woman? What if the man in question were gay? Imagine the out of proportion shitstorm that would cause?

Aug 08 11 - 9:38pm

Or what about the "shitstorm" it is receiving because it is happening to someone (and not because they are gay or a woman).

Aug 06 11 - 10:29pm

Either way, this is ludicrous. Show some humanity, Medicaid.

Aug 06 11 - 10:32pm

My cousin was almost denied coverage when he had breast cancer. He ended up passing away later on.

Aug 08 11 - 1:29am

what is "almost" denied and was there a connection between his passing later and "almost" being denied coverage ? Your comment seems almost meaningless.

Aug 08 11 - 2:50am

your comment is definately meaningless

Aug 08 11 - 9:03am

Seems easy to understand to me. He had to fight to get coverage, possibly because he was a man with breast cancer (context clues), but manged to win (almost denied). Then, unfortunately, he lost the battle anyway.

Aug 08 11 - 9:50pm

TJ gonna teach yo fools some reading comprehension!

Aug 06 11 - 10:42pm

That is just so wrong, wrong, wrong. Men get breast cancer, it just doesn't get the publicity. Medicaid should be ashamed.

Aug 07 11 - 7:51pm

Prostate cancer kills more people than all cases of breast cancer.

And yet what color ribbon is used for that advocacy campaign?

Aug 07 11 - 7:55pm


Aug 07 11 - 8:58pm

light blue. MLB does a prostate cancer awareness weekend over Father's Day. (Keep Dad in the Game? I think it's called)

Aug 07 11 - 9:10pm

right on, Melissa! :->

Aug 08 11 - 12:01am

Prostate cancer gets a "weekend."

"Breast Cancer Awareness Month" is February through December.

Got it.

Aug 08 11 - 1:25am
Joey H.

Ikari, if you don't like it, do something about it. Start your own awareness campaign. I'm not being nasty or sarcastic here. I have a disabling illness that kills people way too young to die, and we get one week that isn't even promoted at all by the mainstream. I'm doing my best to help change that. (Honestly, though of course I have dear friends who have died from breast cancer and I'm certainly aware I might get it one day, sometimes I look at all the pink -- infantilizing -- stuff and all those millions, and I do get a little pissed off.)

Aug 08 11 - 2:38am

Analese, prostate cancer doesn't kill more people than breast cancer: the National Cancer Institute estimates there will be 33 720 deaths in the US from prostate cancer in 2011 and 39 970 deaths from breast cancer. But as others have said, if you think there should be more awareness, perhaps you would like to participate in one of the many initiatives out there. My uncle has prostate cancer and many in my family have participated in events like Movember and charity runs. I'm from a BRCA2+ family whose members have been getting (and losing battles to) less "sexy" cancers - prostate, ovarian and pancreatic. Don't get me started on how much I wish research into ovarian cancer in particular was better funded. But that's not going to happen by putting down breast cancer advocacy but by doing more work to raise awareness of other illnesses.

Aug 08 11 - 9:40pm

what angry crank said but also:

*get angry at breast cancer support because another fatal illness doesn't get as much support*

Aug 06 11 - 11:32pm

See, this is what happens when you let the government (run by a Muslim Atheist, no less) fuck with Medicaid. I will be praying for this poor man. That's probably more than any of the rest of you will do.

Aug 06 11 - 11:43pm

So under your modus operandi, you'll be praying to the imaginary goat that inflicted him with the disease in the first place. Brilliant.

Aug 06 11 - 11:43pm

So under your modus operandi, you'll be praying to the imaginary goat that inflicted him with the disease in the first place. Brilliant.

Aug 07 11 - 1:49am

a 'Muslim Atheist', you say?

Aug 07 11 - 1:51am

are you shitting me? did you really just bring politics --Obama , into the conversation? wow. just..what a fucking troll. Muslim Atheists FTW! it's people like you that make christians look bad. go troll somewhere else. And just because someone's a different religion than you doesn't mean they're atheist, look at your statement : MUSLIM ATHEIST. Wow. JUST..fucking wow.

Aug 07 11 - 2:10am

Obama is fighting for Medicaid. Go talk to the republicans.

Aug 07 11 - 3:36am

Has no-one ever heard the expression "Don't feed the troll"? Me is obviously just saying trying to get an angry response by being as inflammatory as possible, so the best response is to ignore him.

Aug 07 11 - 8:01pm


why does there have to be an idiotic blow hard in every comments section covering the internet? Because cowards hide behind a screen, that's why.

Aug 07 11 - 8:33pm

1) Obama attends church more often than Palin, Bachmann and GW Bush put together.
2) Tea Party so called Christians are evangelicals. Evangelicals are not Christians. To be declared a Christian church, one must belong to a denomination that has maintained Apostolic Succession authority otherwise the church is just a cult using the name Christian improperly.

Aug 07 11 - 8:46pm

Guys, don't feed the trolls.

Aug 08 11 - 2:36pm

Chuck, you're an idiot. The Evangelical Church has been declared Christian many times, by many of its members. Who are you to say that that's not valid? Seriously who the fuck are you? The Chruch isn't the fucking government. You don't need some anemic twig-boy to put a rubber stamp on a post-it note to be called Christian. All you need is to submit yourself to the Lord's Will, you fucking imbecilic faggot. I hope you die soon so that you have fewer sins for which to atone in Hell.

Aug 08 11 - 4:30pm

I'm a shining example of Christian principles. Why else would I wish death upon an "imbecilic faggot" and use excessive profanity?

Aug 08 11 - 6:52pm

Fuck you, 4:30 PM. You can't troll nearly as successfully as I clearly can.

Aug 08 11 - 7:30pm

When I point my finger at 4:30, three fingers are pointing back at me.

Aug 08 11 - 11:52pm

I didn't point: I held my hand out flat in a broad gesture as if to say "Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you... 4:30!" So yes, I did point my finger at 4:30. But I pointed the three other fingers at him or her as well.

Aug 09 11 - 12:48pm

I try my best to miss the point.

Aug 07 11 - 7:24am

This is to the "Me Troller" You are and have cancer one day you will die and now one will remember you!

Aug 07 11 - 3:37pm

I am indeed cancer, and I thank you for the thought that "Now one will remember" me! Are you the one that will remember me now that I have brilliantly trolled you?

Aug 07 11 - 10:56pm

My ugly thoughts are a cancer, eating away at my shriveled "brain". Otherwise known as "the FOX echo chamber".

Aug 07 11 - 8:13am

These insurance companies are THIEVES. Plain and simple, How much longer will we allow this abuse to go on??

Aug 08 11 - 12:02am

Until the sick that are denied treatment start suicide bombing the houses of insurance CEOs, it'll go on for a long, long time.

Aug 08 11 - 9:42pm

medicaid isn't insurence, it is government ran, but I get what you are saying ZekFoo

Aug 07 11 - 8:57am

The insurance companies are the head of the snake.

Aug 07 11 - 12:22pm

Of course this didn't happen. When the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare law was signed, it provided low-cost, universal healthcare for everyone. As a result, this gentleman clearly got the treatment that he needed. If he was denied treatment, he needed to be denied treatment. There is no story here. HE GOT THE TREATMENT HE NEEDED.

Aug 07 11 - 3:24pm

I'm a fucking moron.

Aug 07 11 - 5:04pm


Aug 07 11 - 7:10pm

Yes, you are.

Aug 07 11 - 10:53pm

My name is Publius the troll and I like to agree with myself, no matter how many names it takes.

Aug 08 11 - 2:58pm

Swing and a miss! I love that you see me everywhere you look, jock sniffer.

Aug 08 11 - 4:32pm

As Nerve's resident conservatroll, I fail to see that there is no difference myself and myself.

Aug 08 11 - 9:42pm


Aug 07 11 - 5:10pm

Just part of the big plan to kill us all off.

Aug 07 11 - 5:31pm

DNA had nothing to do with gender. Chromosomes do.

Aug 07 11 - 6:01pm

A chromosome is a chain of DNA.

Aug 07 11 - 7:55pm

DNA is just a combination of proteins.

Aug 07 11 - 8:39pm

We are all atoms, and the particles that make up the aforementioned atoms. Was there a point to this silliness?

Aug 07 11 - 9:30pm

Chromosomes have nothing to do with gender... they have a lot to do with sex...

Aug 08 11 - 2:54am

i like pie

Aug 08 11 - 2:59pm

I like sniffing Publius' jock.

Aug 08 11 - 9:43pm

What the fuck?

Aug 07 11 - 8:31pm

Hmm. I know of two men with breast cancer receiving Medicaid in midwestern states. I don't think this is a US federal Medicaid rule but rather a South Carolina Medicaid provision.

Aug 11 11 - 9:12pm

Unfortunately this is federal policy, but there are ways that it might not apply in all sates. I'm a caseworker in Tennessee. The quick-and-dirty version is this: states receive federal funding for Medicaid and they're forced to follow a very strict set of eligibility guidelines. States are required to cover certain groups (who also must qualify financially). Those groups are pregnant women, minors, and parents of minor children (the child has to be deprived of parental support through absence, death, unemployment, etc). There is a provision in Medicaid law that requires states to cover treatment for women with breast or cervical cancer. Women only. The coverage is not proper (comprehensive, full-medical-coverage) Medicaid; it only covers breast or cervical cancer treatment. Now, states are allowed to pile on extra cash to cover whatever they want. But as you can imagine, most states only offer bare minimum coverage. For example, I was forced to deny an applicant who had been shot in the head and had to undergo extensive brain surgery and facial reconstruction. He was uninsured after being laid off from his job. Because he was not a parent, not a pregnant woman, and not a kid, he was denied. None of this is new. These policies have been around for years, and are totally unrelated to health care reform. In closing, I hate my job.

Aug 11 11 - 9:13pm

What I forgot to add: one way that you might know of men receiving Medicaid coverage with breast cancer is if they have been declared disabled and get SSI. SSI automatically comes with Medicaid, and the coverage is identical to the coverage that qualifying low-income applicants get.

Aug 07 11 - 8:50pm

Can't imagine this happening under ObamaPelosiCare... Nice thing about policies that allow these types of things to happen is we won't have to pay a lot of money to treat people, coffins are much cheaper than Chemotherapy.

Aug 08 11 - 9:44pm

I hate poor people too.

If we let them all die off there won't be poor people in the world anymore right?

Aug 07 11 - 8:56pm

Chuck is right. That is a SC thing, rather than a US rule.
Still, this is why we are in debt. I am sad for the guy, but I am also sad that he is relying on the government to pay for his treatment rather than pay for it himself or get a job that has healthcare.
I guess my taxes will go up again in SC to pay for his chemotherapy.
Note: I will pray for the man and his family, I am just pointing out who is paying.

Aug 07 11 - 9:05pm

You're going to pray for him while you complain about paying to keep him alive? How so un-Christian of you.

Aug 07 11 - 9:45pm

Do you know how much chemotherapy costs? On average, $10,000 per visit. One visit is over $2 hours. And some people have them multiple times a week. Please do a little math, how can a person who HAS TO do that, find a job that will pay him enough to do it or get a job? Most employers like employees who SHOW UP for work and most health insurance does not start until after 90 days of employment; they also do not cover pre-existing medical conditions.
Getting Health Care isn't CHEAP!

Aug 08 11 - 3:00pm

How so, Heather? Should we all pray while the country goes bankrupt?

Aug 08 11 - 4:34pm

I try my best to miss the point.

Aug 09 11 - 4:58am

These people with their cancer; pull up your fucking boot straps! What a bunch of lazy cocksuckers. When I was riddled with cancer, I worked 4 jobs simultaneously and WILLED the very cancer from my body.

Aug 09 11 - 6:09pm

Good job, Dee. We're proud of you.

Aug 07 11 - 9:24pm

The bottom line is that it is not govt or doctors or upper mucky mucks causing this to happen, it is some lowly clerk making this call.

Aug 11 11 - 9:20pm

I'm one of those lowly clerks. We're not able to make special calls in these cases, or in any other cases. Policy is strict and nothing is left open to interpretation. In the world I'm sure you're imagining, this dude would have come to me and, because it makes sense (and it does), I would have approved him. It's not possible. I actually denied a guy a couple months ago who had late-stage breast cancer. Not because I wanted to, or because I was too inflexible or not compassionate enough, but because it's not possible for me to approve him. I fought it with him- I went to my supervisor, then my supervisor's supervisor, then the state commissioner. I got the same "no" every time. My client wasn't denied because I'm some sort of government automaton, it's because until the policy changes there's nothing I can do.

Aug 07 11 - 10:59pm


... Just saying...

Aug 08 11 - 9:45pm


Aug 07 11 - 11:02pm

Look. Breast cancer is special because it is a woman's disease, got it?

A man with breast cancer just has cancer. Get lost.

You know, here in Maryland, there is a line item in the tobacco settlement for breast cancer.

Makes sense. Women die of more serious diseases than men.

Hey, is this guy going to get a nice wig to wear when his hair falls out during chemo, or will they just give him a baseball hat?

Aug 07 11 - 11:03pm

I don't know that it's a gender thing, but perhaps an income thing. My mom was denied medicaid coverage (in Washington state) for her breast cancer treatment because her income was too high to qualify.

Aug 07 11 - 11:04pm

Chromosomes are silent but you can hear a hormone!

Aug 08 11 - 1:02am

B'doom Boom. Rocky Rimshot everyone. He's here all week!

Aug 07 11 - 11:04pm

And all of you complaining about the insurance companies, I hope you do realize this was state MEDICAID that denied him.. not a private insurance company.

0bamacare strikes again...

Aug 08 11 - 1:05am
Reality Check

Wrong, but nice troll.

Aug 08 11 - 1:25am

Wrong? You must have went to public school. Either that or you are too drunk on Libtard Kool-Aid... Here is the quote for you in case you cant be bothered to RTFA...

"A patient advocate from the Charleston Cancer Center, Susan Appelbaum, applied to a state program that provides Medicaid for breast cancer patients on Johnson's behalf, but Johnson was denied because he's a man"

That says MEDICAID. Not private insurance. Reality Check indeed... more like NoBama fantasy land check.

Aug 08 11 - 2:17am
reality strikes

Exactly. State program.

Not federal. Not Obama.

(Not that Obama's plan went into effect the moment it was signed. That is a process that will take years.)

Aug 08 11 - 1:56pm

I love to accuse my opponent of being undereducated to distract anyone from the fact that I have stated factual inaccuracies. It also helps to fail at character assassination by using terms like "libtard" when I feel threatened by intelligent people who call me on my bullshit. Lastly, I like to blame everything on Obama, especially for trying to make sure everyone has sufficient health care.

Aug 08 11 - 9:45pm

medicaid existed before Obama

Aug 09 11 - 6:10pm

Medicaid is administered by the states and controlled by Federal regulations, is it not?

Aug 07 11 - 11:55pm
dave the doc

One of the sad things about this story is that it is self-evident that bureaucracy cannot possibly establish protocols for every situation, and adding layer upon layer of bureaucracy siphons off the available tax payer money from meeting the needs of individuals. Those of you who term the Insurance companies "the head of the snake" also have lost the plot. Insurance allows people to reduce their risk by diverting some of their capital into a pooled fund. It's not a human right

Aug 09 11 - 6:11pm


Aug 07 11 - 11:56pm
dave the doc

One of the sad things about this story is that it is self-evident that bureaucracy cannot possibly establish protocols for every situation, and adding layer upon layer of bureaucracy siphons off the available tax payer money from meeting the needs of individuals. Those of you who term the Insurance companies "the head of the snake" also have lost the plot. Insurance allows people to reduce their risk by diverting some of their capital into a pooled fund. It's not a human right

Aug 09 11 - 6:11pm

It's such a good comment, plus another 1.

Aug 10 11 - 10:54am

I like reading things twice.

Aug 08 11 - 1:05am
Reality Check

Something seems missing here. Aren't the guidelines for cancer treatment gender neutral? I.e. in the case of both breast and prostate cancer the guidelines refer to an "individual" seeking treatment.

Aug 08 11 - 5:10am

So this gender discrimination is "the reverse of what we normally see"????

What blinders are you wearing? Discrimination against males is the rule, not the exception.

Aug 08 11 - 10:17am

i didnt know adult males could even recieve medicaid i thought it was for women and children.

Aug 09 11 - 5:00am

Normally it is but this man didn't pull up his bootstraps.

Aug 08 11 - 11:12am

I don't have a comment about Medicaid, but my father is undergoing chemo for breast cancer, so I am aware of the impact it can have.

Aug 08 11 - 9:47pm

It is outrageous that he won't receive care because he is not a man.

Furthermore, I think it is also ridiculous that people are denied care for any type of illness and injury.