The Truth is Powerful
Op-Ed: Why is it so hard to get healthcare as a trans cancer patient?
Discomfort and hostility can come from every corner of the healthcare system including doctors, nurses and technicians. Nobody can know what it is like to be a cancer patient without actually having cancer. Before I was diagnosed, I had proximity to cancer patients and experiences in healthcare that I thought gave me insight. In some ways they did. Yet although I had previously experienced discrimination for being transgender, nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to endure as a trans cancer patient.
The abusive treatment I have experienced makes clear how having cancer and being trans are stigmatized in our healthcare system.
In the summer of 2020, at age 26, I was diagnosed with a rare eye cancer — uveal melanoma. I live in Oakland and was fortunate to have most of my care close by in San Francisco, though due to the rarity of my illness I traveled to Davis for radiation. Many patients with my type of cancer have to travel out of state or drive several hours to access care.
Prior to being diagnosed with cancer, I did not have many medical concerns. Nor did I consider myself disabled. That changed, fast — within a week […]