Male breast cancer patients denied Medicaid coverage

Many men with breast cancer are being denied Medicaid coverage for breast cancer treatment because of their gender.

The American Cancer society's pages on breast cancer in men lay out the facts.  About 2,000 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, which makes it rare: about 100 times more women get the disease. It is known that men, like women, are more likely to develop cancer if they have certain mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Family history and age contribute to a man's likelihood of developing the disease as well.  Heavy drinking and exposure to radiation are believed to be risk factors, as is obesity. A recent breast cancer cluster among men who had been exposed to contaminated drinking water at North Carolina's Camp Lejeune had patients wondering if there was also a link between chemical exposure and the disease.

The director of the state's Department of Health and Human Services agreed that Medicaid should not discriminate. “We believe that the federal position on this issue is discriminatory, and we are again urging federal Medicaid officials to reconsider,” Tony Keck said in a written statement. “This is a very clear example of how overly rigid federal regulations don't serve the interests of the people we're supposed to be helping.”

The eligibility requirements say that in order to get coverage for breast cancer treatment, patients new to Medicaid must have been diagnosed through “early detection” programs funded by the CDC. But a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services - which administers the Medicaid program said that an unintended “glitch” in the law that governs the CDC programs had left men without coverage for breast cancer. “We are working with the CDC and South Carolina to see what options may exist to address this situation,” CMS spokesman Brian T. Cook, said. “We are committed to ensuring that all individuals who should be eligible for this program have coverage.”

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


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  1. Susan Cerezo Susan Cerezo United States says:

    President Clinton and his staff should be commended for implementing the Breast and Cervical Cancer Care and Treatment Program in 2000.  I am positive that they did not intend to discriminate men in the breast cancer issue, as there have been breast cancer in men prior to 2000.  I believe it was an oversight.  They could have specified women and men to have coverage for breast cancer and women for cervical cancer.  I read that there have been cases of men with breast cancer who have been denied coverage in the past.  This situation should have been rectified right away.  That law was not written in stone, it had been expanded already.  We cannot just accept this inadvertence.  Let us all call upon our elected officials for a amendment. Surely, there is no justice for men afflicted with breast cancer in this predicament.

  2. Frank DeGregorio Frank DeGregorio United States says:

    Oh yes, commendations all around.  Free money to women with breast cancer and denial of services to men.

    No discussion of the disgusting sexism involving the effective defunding of prostate cancer, as big a killer as breast cancer but it's OK, it's just men dying.

    33,000 men died last year in the US from prostate cancer.

    38,000 women died last year in the US from breast cancer.

    And sure, we need to do something...let's have a dinner and give the feds a big bonus for the great job their doing.

    This, the story of feminist atrocities, will be seen as one of the ugliest chapters in human history.

  3. Nontimbomala Nontimbomala Canada says:

    Sorry Suzan, it isn't an oversight. The law could have easily have said persons or peoples, to include everyone.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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