I sympathize with this woman: thirty six years old she’s told she’s got a form of cancer typically associated with older people; and she learns that not only it is prevalent in younger adults, it’s completely treatable if caught early. But Insurance companies won’t cover testing for patients under fifty.
Insurance companies are assholes.
Cancer is so often thought of as being “caused by” something or other: genetics, smoking cigarettes, someone else smoking cigarettes, occupational or regional causes, toxins in the drinking water, something gives you cancer. And since we’ve polluted our planet fairly well it’s more and more likely that more people in the developed world will have cancer at some point.
Predicting at what age we will develop cancer is bullocks. As highlighted in John Green’s novel The Fault in our Stars, children, pretty young children, can have cancer. [Here be Spoilers] In the novel, Hazel Grace is expected to kick it soon and she’s angrily preparing for it. It is her boyfriend, who appears to be in a healthy remissions, it turns out, is the terminal one. Because Cancer is a fickle bitch.
Insurance companies won’t screen for certain cancers until clients have reached forty of fifty. Others they’re happy to screen for, but only every few years. No one expects a healthy 29 year old to have breast cancer, so we don’t check for it. It’s a little like saying, well, the Aztecs didn’t expect the Spanish so they weren’t prepared for them.
Cancer, an aberration in our bodies, doesn’t really care how old we are.
As someone who doesn’t have health insurance, I sometimes worry I’ve got something brewing, like Dawn Eicher in the colon cancer story, that hasn’t affected me, therefore I have not noticed. I work in the outdoors. I don’t always wear a hat or sunscreen; I have moles that like to act up. I’ve probably got skin cancer and I don’t know it. If I had Health Insurance (and went to my doctor regularly) we might know one way or the other, we’d be looking for it. We might know which moles are cancerous and which are fucking with me.
Eicher has a valid point: if her insurance would have paid for a colon cancer test for people under fifty then maybe they would have tested her and caught it sooner and she, and people like her, could take preventative measures thus ensuring they wouldn’t have to go through the processes unnecessarily. If Health Insurance was guaranteed for all American citizens the same would be true.
The poor, unemployed, underemployed, and homeless need Health Insurance just as much as relatively healthy, white, blonde, middle class soccer moms. So sign her petition, but know that’s not the end of the problem. If more people had better access to doctors, hospitals, and medicine many conditions could be prevented.
I know Universal Health Care has it’s drawbacks, but those are drawbacks I can live with.
(Before you cry “Obamacare!” it’s not good enough, not yet.)