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Breast cancer research should be high priority

We lost Carm the other day, the latest of our dear friends succumbing to breast cancer. She and I always kidded, calling each other “cuz,” ever since discovering our fathers were born in the same mountain village in eastern Sicily. Ten years ago, her tumor was discovered and treated quite successfully. Two years ago, she developed bizarre symptoms that revealed a recurrence and spread, foreboding a grim outcome.
A few minutes with Google turned up some disquieting information. One hundred women die in the United States every day from breast cancer, their lives shortened 13 years. Since 9/11, more than 400,000 women have been struck down. One in eight women will be afflicted at some point in their lives. One in 20 will die therefrom. Yet federal expenditures for homeland security exceed 10 times those for breast cancer research. Evidently, fear of the unknown far exceeds fear of the familiar.
Volunteer efforts on behalf of breast cancer command respect and admiration, but are nowhere near enough to put into high gear the enormous research capacity of our university, hospital, national and private pharmaceutical laboratories. Breakthroughs often occur when very influential people become concerned. I would suggest to our women in Congress that for their own sakes and for all the women of America, they make this a priority.
Ross Markello, M.D. (Retired)
Amherst