Public health focus must include Pap tests for cervical...

Letters to the Editor

August 06, 1998

Public health focus must include Pap tests for cervical cancer

Your front-page story "Research targets diseases that hit blacks frequently" (Aug. 2) reminds us of disturbing observations that have long concerned medical and other public health professionals.

It is good to see that fresh efforts to address these health inequities may prove fruitful.

However, it seems important to comment on an anecdote discussed by Dr. W. Michael Byrd, who noted that when he and his wife were in medical school, they were told that black women "suffer from cervical cancer because they were promiscuous."

Any woman, regardless of race or ethnicity, increases her risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection if she has many sexual partners.

Research points clearly to the fact that having had certain types of sexually transmitted infections does, indeed, increase the chance that a woman will develop cervical cancer.

Any woman who is sexually active should take advantage of the Pap test, a simple procedure that can detect cervical cancer and other conditions that may lead to cervical cancer.

Treatment for early signs of cervical cancer is almost always extremely effective.

Information about cancer risks and treatments is available at no charge from the National Cancer Institute.

By calling 1-800-4-CANCER, people can order free booklets and fact sheets on a wide range of topics related to cancer.

Patti Lowery


DNA headline not worthy of its place in 'The Sun'

I was shocked to pick up my July 31 paper and see the front-page headline "Lewinsky's dress to get a DNA test."

As a longtime reader of The Sun, I could not believe that the paper would stoop to the tabloid level.

Millie Tyssowski


Health clinics must be able to identify severe problems

I am writing this letter in regard to your article "Ouch City" (July 27).

On a recent trip, our vacation was cut short when my father suddenly became ill with back pain and vomiting. Not knowing what we were dealing with, we took him to a medical clinic where he spent three hours, with no definite diagnosis, until he finally was sent by ambulance to the hospital in a nearby community.

Almost immediately upon arrival, it was determined that my father had an aortic aneurysm, which ruptured soon after. We were told by the doctor in the hospital that the aneurysm could be felt by pressing on his torso.

My father was rushed to Salisbury hospital for emergency surgery. He died two days later. The aneurysm went undetected at the clinic, perhaps because it is used to dealing more with lacerations, sprains, and earaches, as your article states.

I can only hope that these clinics will have more experienced doctors to diagnose the more serious, life-threatening emergencies that can happen to anyone on vacation.

Debbie Shoop


We cannot support firms that pollute our waterways

As Marylanders, we want our bay clean, not only to protect the safety of the seafood we harvest.

It's more than that.

The bay is the lifeline for many. Marylanders everywhere have Chesapeake Bay license plates, and the "Save the Bay" slogan is everywhere.

However, Tyson Foods and Allen Family Foods Inc. are thumbing their noses at us by dumping thousands of gallons of poultry waste near their plants in Berlin and Cordova, months after the state ordered them to stop.

Obviously, Tyson, an Arkansas-based company, doesn't care about polluting our waterways, as long as it can dump its chicken waste somewhere, and we keep eating their birds.

The state of Maryland has filed a lawsuit of approximately $5.4 million in fines against Tyson Foods.

I can't speak for everyone, but this family is boycotting the Tyson brand until it cleans up its act.

Michael Wheeler


Ravens stadium spectacular despite reported comments

The new NFL stadium at Camden Yards is nothing short of awesome. However, I was quoted in your article on July 31 as being disappointed, and I feel compelled to clarify some comments ("Ravens fans get first taste," July 31).

Your reporter was gathering opinions from people seated directly behind the rails. I told him I found the view to be "tolerable" but that I thought there could have been fewer horizontal railings.

In response to his prompt, "So you're completely satisfied with your vantage point," I responded that the temporary seating made the view through the rails more difficult because not only do we have to contend with railings but also fans sitting and standing in front of us.

Neither I, nor anyone else I know, has bought these seats in the front row; they were assigned by the Ravens.

The first seats in the upper deck are what some of us consider prime seating.

After being told by an usher those seats are permanent, my comment was this: "Why should those seats be reserved for single game sales?"

I was quoted as saying, "I'm not happy." In contrast, I am happy. Very happy.

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