Facing Prostate Cancer's High Costs As a Low-Income Earner
Every year, the world comes together to raise awareness about cancer. Prostate cancer is a type of cancer that affects the prostate gland in men. It has been reported that this cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in men and the fifth leading cause of death globally1.
I was honored to meet a man from Nigeria who fought this prostate cancer battle. This article exposes the travails, changes in his lifestyles, and the victories of this man. I believe prostate cancer is a battle and not a death sentence. My father, who is almost 86, has had prostate cancer and will tell you that the battle can be won.
The costs of prostate cancer
Mr. T is a 54-year old Nigerian who came to the United States about 10 years ago. He is a plumber and a low-income earner. On June 24, 2016, some missionaries came to perform a health outreach program on his street. He was fortunate to get tested at that time. Mr. T was advised to visit the hospital for proper examination. On July 21, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
The doctors informed him that the cancer was still in its early stages and had not spread to other parts of his body. As a low-income earner, Mr. T could not afford the expensive treatments that were offered to him. He stopped visiting the doctor and could no longer take any treatments.
Eight months after being diagnosed with prostate cancer, he started experiencing pain anytime he went to urinate. He was also having frequent body pain around his pelvic area daily. Those pains sent a signal to him that he needed to visit the hospital for help. He had to sell his old Toyota Camry in other to raise money for treatment.
He finally visited the hospital on April 24, 2017. The cancer had spread to some other parts of the body. He had to undergo surgery immediately. Taiwo was also placed on some chemotherapeutic drugs by the doctor.
The doctor advised him to change his diet at once. He was not eating the healthiest of foods. His diet consists of foods that are affordable to him. As we all know, eating healthy is not cheap. He knew that if he wanted to live, he had to listen to the doctors.
The oncologist told him to exercise daily. Taking the daily digestion of drugs was hard on him. He told me that he would not wish this illness on his worst enemy. "It is terrifying," he stated. They had him visiting the hospital several times every month.
Mr. T kept his head high; he wanted to live and was determined to never give up. On November 15, 2018, he was happy to hear from the doctor that his prostate cancer was now undetectable. His word to every man suffering from prostate cancer is to keep believing and get tested early.
The effect of poverty on health
I want to end with this: I just want to say that being poor in America is hazardous to your health. I have a good job with what they call good insurance, but my deductible is still $8k. How can we survive like this? I don't understand why private hospitals can't start a free check-up program for poor people who are under the poverty level.
What are your thoughts on this?
Have you made personal connections through your journey with prostate cancer?