"Early detection is still the best preventive measure, and that means yearly mammograms, even in women younger than 50."
RICHARD B. REILING, M.D.
Bravo to Christine Gorman for her comprehensive article on breast cancer [MEDICINE, Feb. 18]! She certainly did her homework. I can substantiate the text of her entire article with research I did on the disease. It's a relief to know that many other women are certain to benefit from her conscientious effort.
Coconut Grove, Fla.
I had my first mammogram at age 62 and another a year later. The second one showed a shadow that turned out to be an early cancer that was virulent enough to pass on to my lymph nodes. I had a mastectomy and six months of chemotherapy. Thirteen years later, I am cancer free. Without that mammogram, I wouldn't today be a cancer survivor. Go get that mammogram!
Why did you find it necessary to publish a sexually suggestive photo on your cover? The article is about cancer, not under any circumstances a sexy topic. You trivialized a deadly health problem that affects men as well as women.
You left out one critical consideration: the cost of treatment. When a mammogram or breast exam reveals a lump or calcification, how does an uninsured woman pay for a sonogram or biopsy, let alone surgery and radiation or chemotherapy? What good is early detection if you can't afford treatment?
New York City
Women are still dying of breast cancer in appalling numbers, while the cancer establishment makes billions of dollars on treatments that are not addressing the underlying issues of causation and prevention. Women don't need more drugs to artificially regulate their estrogen levels, or more debilitating surgery. They need to know what causes breast cancer and how to prevent it in their daughters' lifetimes.
BEVERLY F. BACCELLI, PRESIDENT
There wasn't much about my mastectomies and chemo to laugh about until I read Molly Ivins' take on the experience [MEDICINE, Feb. 18]. Regarding hair loss, I also prayed for God to leave me my eyebrows and eyelashes; I thought losing them would make me look really sick. As for not having breasts, put it this way: if you compare my body with my 10-year-old son's, between the neck and waist we look identical, except he is the one with nipples. Just to be here today, however, and to be able to write this make me happier than having breasts ever did.
Thank you, Molly Ivins, for expressing your suspicion that "cancer doesn't give a rat's ass whether you have a positive mental attitude." For years, I have tried to counter those who say peace of mind can cure cancer. Ivins came through with a great comeback!
Hemp Isn't Heroin
Thanks for reporting the facts about industrial hemp [SOCIETY, Feb. 18]. Hemp is no more a drug than hazelnuts are, yet the U.S. government doesn't seem to grasp this fact. A clean, renewable source of fuel and fiber, hemp belongs under the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture, not the Drug Enforcement Administration. It's ironic that this government meddling is occurring during the Bush Administration, which touts itself as probusiness and anti-Big Government.
GREEN ENVIRONMENTAL COALITION
Yellow Springs, Ohio
If a government agency in any other country tried to pull off this stunt (treating hemp as a controlled substance), it would be laughed out of town.
Thank goodness the DEA is protecting our children from getting high on frozen waffles that contain hemp. I'm sure it has research that shows eating such waffles leads to using harder drugs--such as caffeine.
Half Moon Bay, Calif.
Milosevic's Day in Court
Prior to the Hague war-crimes tribunals, many brutal murderers and torturers could attempt to excuse themselves by claiming they were only following orders [WORLD, Feb. 18]. And if the person at the top of the chain of command was killed or missing, the accused might get away with their crimes. But we now have an opportunity to prosecute the remorseless Slobodan Milosevic. His acts were worse than those of Osama bin Laden. The genocide and rapes will harm people for generations to come.
Centurion, South Africa
Why have the people responsible for Serbia's new school history texts, which omit any mention of Milosevic, been allowed to distort the truth? The proper education of the young demands that full and accurate information be provided.
A Plan for the Enron Guys
It is sickening to hear executives from Enron invoke the Fifth Amendment and refuse to testify before Congress after they have stripped people of their life savings [NATION, Feb. 18]. Those people who gained personally at the expense of others should be treated the same as the al-Qaeda terrorists: they should be sent directly to prison.