The result of the early departure of the New York Yankees from the playoffs last night may also mean that if George Steinbrenner is true to his word — that manager Joe Torre is finished. Most people do believe that Torres will eventually lose his job.

No matter whether you believe that Torres should go or not, there is a hidden issue lurking in the background for us survivors. If he loses his job, he will also lose his medical insurance. Now I understand that Torres has been very well compensated during his extended tour with the Yankees, but I also would not be as presumptuous to assume that this is a trivial issue for a man the public believes is very wealthy.

Joe Torres is a prostate cancer survivor. We believe that he was successfully treated; we also know that 1/3 of men who are successfully treated will eventually suffer a recurrence of their cancer. Now if Joe is unlucky enough to win the lottery and have a recurrence, he might be facing advanced prostate cancer without medical insurance.

Joe’s position is not unlike the situation that many prostate cancer survivors do face. Many of these survivors do not have the luxury of being able to afford to purchase individual medical insurance policies. What are they to do? I hope that if Joe is fired from the Yankees that he will not be in the position of not being able to buy insurance for himself and his wife.

I do want to add that my wife Wendy reports that Mrs. Torres is an active participant in a prostate cancer spousal on-line support group. Wendy tells me that she is up front about her identity and is supportive and helpful to the other spouses. She is a “regular guy.”

Joel T. Nowak MA, MSW