Trans man denied care for breast cancer

Jay Kallio was not told by his doctor he had cancer and missed his 'therapeutic window' for chemotherapy

Trans man denied care for breast cancer
10 August 2012

A transgender man is speaking out against his doctors after he was denied care for breast cancer.

New Yorker Jay Kallio, 56, a former paramedic who is disabled with kidney failure, rheumatoid arthritis and now cancer has struggled to find proper medical care.

When a suspicious lump was found in Kallio’s breast and tested positive for cancer, the surgeon was allegedly ‘shocked’ about his gender, and then felt he could not tell Kallio the results.

The US Department of Health and Human Services has said, under the Affordable Care Act, it is against the law to discriminate against transgender patients in federally funded healthcare programs.

Kallio, who transitioned six years ago, learned he had breast cancer accidentally when a lab technician called to ask how he was doing with his diagnosis.

Horrified, Kallio went to seek a medical oncologist who he described to ABC News as ‘hostile’, and refused to advise him on treatments.

Later the doctor apologized, saying: ‘I don’t think it interfered with the quality of your care.’

In an effort to find new doctors, it delayed the start of chemotherapy beyond the ‘therapeutic window’ for Kallio’s aggressive form of breast cancer.

A 2011 NCTE survey revealed, before the Affordable Care Act, transgender people suffered harassment in education, employment, housing and health care as well as in government and prison systems.

The survey also found one in five transgender people had been denied care by a medical provider, including doctors, clinics, hospitals and ambulance drivers.

Kallio said: ‘We are so vulnerable when we are sick. I was at the point where I was going to forgo treatment.

‘I had greater trust in the natural course of my cancer than with my providers. No one should be treated like that when they face a potentially terminal diagnosis.’

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