Healthy Living

One Transgender Man’s Story of Getting Breast Cancer

Unlucky circumstances

Dr. Mark Burkard, oncologist at UW Health stated that removing a large portion of Sexton’s breast tissue decreased his risk of breast cancer, yet it did not eliminate it altogether. He went on to note that Sexton’s testosterone treatments may have decreased his risk in one manner yet increased the risk in another. “Casey is particularly unlucky because his risk should have gone down and yet he developed breast cancer” Dr. Burkard said. Most transgender men choose to have their ovaries removed (further lowering risk of breast cancer); however, Sexton did not choose this option. In mid 2016, Sexton’s breast cancer was found to be aggressive, having spread to the lymph nodes.

After starting a round of chemotherapy, he received a letter from his insurance company, stating that his cancer treatment could not be covered due to gender confusion. At his job where he had insurance, Sexton was registered as a male, yet his medical record declared he had female breast cancer. His boss went on to explain the situation to Sexton’s insurance company and they proceeded to cover his care. In October, Sexton received surgeries to remove the tumor and surroundings cancerous lymph nodes.