Neglected Cancers–A Common Problem in the U.S.

I go to tumor board at our local hospital.  Approximately once a month we encounter patients who delayed diagnosis and treatment because of lack of funds and insurance.  It’s the American way of care.

Consider this:  

The patient in the emergency department smelled of advanced cancer. It is the smell of rotting flesh, but even more pungent. You only ever have to smell it once.

She had been bleeding irregularly, but chalked it up to “the change.” Peri-menopausal hormonal mayhem is the most common cause of irregular vaginal bleeding, but unfortunately not the only cause.

She hadn’t gone to the doctor because she had no health insurance. The only kind of work she could get in a struggling rural community was without benefits. Her coat and shoes beside the gurney were worn and her purse from another decade. She could never afford to buy it on her own. She didn’t qualify for Medicaid, the local doctor only took insurance, and there was no Planned Parenthood or County Clinic nearby.

Medicynical Note:  The opponents of health care often point out that people sooner or later can get care in our non-system.  The problem is the later part. 

This woman at one time had curable disease. 

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