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September 29, 2013 at 7:03 AM
A tremendous job
My team, Monster and Sea, participated in the 60-mile walk to help fund breast-cancer research this past weekend.
I cannot go another minute without telling everyone what a tremendous job the volunteers from Seattle Police Department did. They decorated their bikes and rode every mile beside the walkers, encouraging, praising and creating an atmosphere of fun, and all while keeping us safe.
It was amazing to watch them tackle the hills while talking and joking with us, which ultimately helped keep our minds off the length and steepness of each hill.
My daughter has battled two forms of cancer since December, and they took the time to show concern and compassion while continuing to help us move forward.
The Seattle Police Department should be proud to have these men and women on their team: three days and nights of volunteering in the sun, rain, wind and traffic with smiles and their faces and what could only be described as joy in their hearts.
Connie McCoy, Snoqualmie
August 12, 2013 at 7:09 AM
Support ongoing care for cancer survivors
With the arrival of new medical technologies, a cancer diagnosis is not the inevitable kiss of death it once was.
As a cancer survivor, I have learned there is a whole new life to be had following years of treatments and hospitalizations. One’s health can improve, however compromised.
Medical care has been evolving from treating symptoms on to managing patients’ lives beyond their illnesses. Just because someone is surviving illness, it does not mean they have attained a good quality of life. Less tangible symptoms of illness remain. Symptoms of pain, depression, new dietary restrictions, maintenance medicines and so on can severely inhibit one’s quality of life and ability to live outside of their illness.
I hope our congressman, Jim McDermott, will co-sponsor two palliative care bills (for ongoing quality-of-life care) before Congress.
There is the Patient Centered Quality Care for Life Act (HR1666), which addresses the care of those with chronic illnesses. Secondly, there is the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (S641 & HR1339), which seeks to increase specialized training and education in medical programs.
Bill Wardwell, ambassador for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Seattle
July 31, 2013 at 11:41 AM
Institute is moving in the right direction
Congratulations to the scientists at the National Cancer Institute for taking a bold step in redefining how we diagnose cancer [“Scientists see harm in overly broad definition of cancer,” News, July 30.]
By redefining terms, we are forever changing the way we diagnose and treat a variety of conditions, and it reminds us that nothing is more important in health care than a correct diagnosis and treatment plan.
Just think about the unnecessary suffering that can be prevented, not to mention the billions we waste for unnecessary treatments.
Earlier this year, the National Coalition on Health Care and Best Doctors released stunning findings from a survey of cancer specialists that found that misdiagnosis in cancer was greatly underestimated, and that there is a pressing need for systemic changes to reduce misdiagnoses from 15 to 28 percent in all medical cases, down to something much closer to zero.
With well-meaning but overburdened doctors only able to spare a few minutes with each patient, fractured medical information and patients hesitant to ask questions or seek a second opinion, the problem is only expected to get worse, unless we continue to take bold steps such as those taken by the National Cancer Institute.
David Seligman, chairman and CEO, Best Doctors, Boston
June 10, 2013 at 7:03 AM
Some are not so fortunate
I mean, really, what does guest columnist Tana Senn want for her decision to have her reproductive organs removed — a medal?
Many women have undergone this same operation, unrelated to the BRCA1 gene mutation, without choice as an option and without feeling ready [“Me, my dad and Angelina Jolie,” Opinion, May 30].
Senn tells us: “I knew I was done with having children, so I addressed the risk of ovarian cancer first.” Clearly, she did not stop to consider those forced to make the same decision in different circumstances; many of us do not have a husband or partner, and/or do not have children, and/or did not feel our families were complete.
If printing her column was intended to be helpful, I did not find it so. If the intention was to commend her bravery, in my opinion, it was misplaced.
Although many of us also prefer not to make our private loss public, it seems I must agree with Senn in this case. Sometimes, it feels necessary.
Heidi Beck, Renton
May 30, 2013 at 1:03 PM
Don’t glorify it
I cannot listen to the media anymore talk about Angelina Jolie’s choice for a double mastectomy [“Jolie puts a stark choice in spotlight,” page one, May 15]. I am not unsympathetic to her fear. I know that fear; I have had breast cancer twice.My issue is this: She doesn’t have to argue with doctors or insurance companies. Most insurance companies would say what she did was elective. Average Americans like myself struggle for health care. We struggle after lifetime caps on treatment and cost.
All of us with breast cancer would love to get this done in nine weeks. All of us would love to have beautiful new breasts. But at certain stages of cancer, you do not get that choice. We have to worry about changes in insurance and now having pre-existing conditions. Insurance is not for the poor or middle class.
I cannot blame celebrities for their wealth; that would be silly. I do blame the media for glorifying the choice of a celebrity, while millions of people cannot afford something as simple as insurance for a checkup on a lump they found.
Maria Ewing, Seattle
May 18, 2013 at 7:06 AM
State should consider regulations
May, our first sunny warm weather month, is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. People begin spending more time outdoors under sunny skies. Teens look forward to school recesses and summer breaks.
In misguided efforts to improve their appearance, many young people desire skin tans. People will lie exposed under direct sunlight. Others will lie in tanning beds, exposing themselves to artificial UV radiation, falsely believing that artificial tans offer protection from the sun’s natural radiation, or offer health benefits such as increased vitamin D. [“FDA wants cancer warnings on tanning beds,” seattletimes.com, May 6.]
Unprotected exposure to natural sunlight has always been dangerous, increasing skin-cancer risk, particularly melanoma, one of the deadliest cancers. Exposure to artificial tanning bed UV radiation is even more so. People under 35 using tanning beds increase their melanoma risk 75 percent. Even so, the number of young people using tanning beds has increased from 1 percent to 27 percent over the last 20 years.
The US Food & Drug Administration has just made proposals to reclassify tanning devices as cancer-causing. As Washingtonians, we should ask Olympia to pass tanning-bed regulations. As parents, we should protect our children and prohibit them from using indoor tanning devices. As individuals, we should become examples by refusing to tan.
Bill Wardwell, ambassador, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Seattle
May 16, 2013 at 11:47 AM
Reform health care
As a woman from a family in which breast cancer runs rampant, I found Angelina Jolie’s story particularly interesting [“Jolie puts a stark choice in spotlight,” page one, May 15]. While I have never considered Jolie an ideal role model by any means, I appreciate her decision and honesty regarding that decision.The article by Carol Ostrom brought to my attention some issues regarding patents and insurance that I had previously been unaware of. It is appalling to me that one is able to patent a human gene and prohibit tests from being used outside of research.
Cancer is an incredibly serious and prevalent issue, and it is amazingly selfish of these private companies to withhold treatment and a potential cure from those who need it. Hopefully there will be a reform in the health-care system in the near future.
Lauren Henderson, Seattle
March 12, 2013 at 3:30 PM
Co-sponsors are supportive
Regarding Nicole Brodeur’s column “Stuart Sloan rides for life” [NW Arts&Life, March 10]:
What began as a wonderful story about an amazing man and a truly worthwhile cause, suddenly angered me at the categorization of co-sponsors as “[Sloan’s] highfalutin’ co-sponsors …”
The adjectives that come to my mind are generous, committed, supportive. I doubt that any cancer patient who benefits from this effort would agree with the description.
–Liz Azose, Seattle
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