Knowledge, support and tenacity needed to fight breast 0...

Letters to the Editor

May 01, 1998

Knowledge, support and tenacity needed to fight breast 0) cancer

I just finished reading the April 22 article "Activist Gaddy announces that she has breast cancer." I applaud Bea Gaddy for making her condition known and, Gaddy more importantly, disclosing the fact that she delayed going to her physician. I was diagnosed six years ago and during that time, I have become very active in helping others to deal with the fact that they have breast cancer.

Right now, Ms. Gaddy needs all the support that she can get. There are many resources upon which she can draw. One is Arm-in-Arm, a breast cancer support group that has been in existence for 10 years. The group was there for me in times of need, and now I am on its board of directors.

Scientific studies have shown that women who are involved in some sort of support network fare much better than their counterparts who are not. Any woman who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, recently or many years ago, can come to one of several meetings each month at area hospitals. Our hotline number is 410-494-0083.

There is nothing worse than having breast cancer except not knowing you have it. Get your annual physicals and demand a thorough breast exam.

Terry R. Kerr

Owings Mills

The recent tragic loss of Linda McCartney to breast cancer after a three-year fight has again focused public fear on our apparent inability to win the battle with this most dreaded of diseases. Ms. McCartney was a devoted wife and mother. She lived her life seemingly committed to doing good for others and was able to receive the most progressive care in a timely fashion. Her passing at just 56 years old prompts many to ask why this cannot be cured.

As a surgeon confronted daily with this terrible reality, I, too, ask this question. These are some of the answers to which I have resigned myself:

Though mammograms have unquestioned value in the early diagnosis of breast cancer and hence make it more curable, women in this country are still unable or unwilling to obtain them at an early age and on an annual basis.

Not enough women who are found to have breast cancer are encouraged to participate in clinical trials that have been designed to scientifically look for answers to our most important questions. The reasons for this are that many patients fear being experimented upon; consent forms describing the treatments frighten rather than inform patients; and physicians, because of ego or indifference, keep patients from hearing about or participating in well-designed national trials.

There is a disproportionate allocation of funds for breast cancer research, compared with other medical problems of greater notoriety but perhaps less impact on society.

Finally, the humbling acknowledgment, that despite the continued best efforts of researchers, physicians and activists and the remarkable courage of thousands of breast cancer patients and their families, the fundamental questions regarding the cause and care of breast cancer remain unanswered.

Despite our fears and losses, we must work together and not "Let It Be."

Dr. Scott E. Maizel

Baltimore I am glad to see the political pork is balanced between the black and white communities in Maryland ("State to acquire Frostburg depot for $600,000," April 16). House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr. appears to be the biggest porker with his $600,000 buyout of a rail depot housing a failed Frostburg restaurant, which he says is in the best interest of our citizens.

The other was the Rev. John Wright, who received $300,000 for a community center for his Howard County church.

What about the other failing restaurants and religious organizations that need community centers? Where does the line start for their pork?

What about the existing programs that cater to the children: libraries and schools that can't function because of lack of funds? Is there is a lack of funds for legitimate programs because they are not politically connected?

I would like to suggest that The Sun have a weekly column, page or section titled "Pork" to explain to the people of Maryland all of the little programs that our state and U.S. representatives get to benefit themselves or special friends.

Oscar Schabb

Brooklandville

HUD probe an opportunity to show wise use of money

Does Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke recognize a good thing when it happens? He has been saying what a great administrator he is and what a great administration he has. Now the opportunity presents itself where the HUD inspector general can come in to evaluate his administration. Why is he afraid?

He should stand proud and take ownership of his leadership and administration. If he got the 71.30 percent rating from HUD that I read he received, he shouldn't be worried.

I hope that I can read in The Sun's headlines: "Mayor Schmoke's administration most effective when working with public funds."

William Biehl

Baltimore

State tax dollars misused in subsidies to racetracks

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