Suzanne is brave and smart to take charge of her health and life despite what she may have been advised by her doctors. Women are told to take a stand in all areas, and when they do, many times they are chastised because of it. Mainstream medicine does not have all the answers. It does have a place in the health-care system, but we all have a choice in our approach to health care. I often wonder why doctors say they "practice" medicine. It is because they don't have all the answers.
Jennifer Mitchael, Gravette, Ark.
Hooray for Suzanne Somers! I am a radiation therapist, not a physician, and while I do not condone patients totally abandoning their doctors' orders, I do believe that every patient is the best decisionmaker in regard to their own treatment. Suzanne did not totally forgo treatment, she made a well-informed decision. Many times, surgical oncologists, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists do not agree, therefore it is better to investigate all options that include all modalities of treatment.
Keri Brown, North Augusta, S.C.
I applaud Suzanne Somers for going public with her very personal story and the brave choices she made. No one has a right to be critical of the difficult decisions that a cancer patient must make. Like Suzanne, I, too, had a lumpectomy and six weeks of radiation in 1994. And I also opted to forgo the recommended chemotherapy. Seven years later, I am still cancer-free and without regrets. My best wishes to you, Suzanne!
Janet Kampouris, Sacramento
I'm a 43-year-old woman with metastatic breast cancer, and two months ago my best friend died of the disease. Although I support Suzanne Somers's right to make her own decision, it's a foolish choice. The current consensus among oncologists is that a percentage of breast cancers progress even when they are noninvasive and node-negative. In those circumstances, more women are having not just chemo but also modified radical mastectomies. Alternative therapy should be considered in conjunction with conventional treatment, not as a replacement. Is chemotherapy toxic and does it damage healthy cells? Yes, and that's why your hair falls out. It also can save your life.
Tory Haiss, China, Maine
Suzanne Somers should be applauded for her individual fight with cancer. I am, however, concerned that her descriptions of "extreme pain" during biopsy and after surgery will scare some women away from making the right decisions in their own fight. I, too, had a breast biopsy with a "horse needle" and no anesthesia. It was no big deal. I had a double mastectomy and I was not in "incredible pain." I also chose to undergo six months of conventional chemo. The uncomfortable decisions I made four years ago led to three wonderful words today: I am alive.
Wendy Wade Morton, Clarkton, N.C.
I don't recall Suzanne Somers asking me, or anyone else, how she should treat her breast cancer. Why does everyone feel they have a right to voice their opinion on a celebrity's personal decision?
Lisa Jacobs, Dallas
I enjoyed reading your article on Alexander Martin, not only because he is my son but he is also one of the nicest human beings I know. I do feel, though, I must bring attention to one misprint. My husband, David Glen Eisley, is my third husband, not my fourth! I would greatly appreciate setting the record straight.
Olivia Hussey Eisley, Agua Dulce, Calif.
We regret the error.—ED.
I don't know when I've cheered as loudly as I did when I read that Andrew Burnett had been arrested and charged with the road-rage killing of Leo. Considering how little regard this creep apparently has for anything or anybody other than himself, he probably thought he'd get away with it. Investigator Phil Zaragoza is a hero and a half in my book.
Lucille VanDusen, Wrightstown, N.J.
I just wanted to lend my support and send a compliment to Steven Spielberg. In Scoop it was said that Mr. Spielberg resigned from his advisory post in the Boy Scouts of America due to his inability to accept their ban on gays in scouting. I absolutely agree with him. My son, who is 13, was a scout, and he and I discussed gays in scouting and came to the same conclusion: Sexual orientation has little to do with your ability to teach, mentor or otherwise engage in activities with children. I do not practice discrimination in any form and will not support any facility or organization that discriminates, and neither will my children.
C. Saunders, Hampton, Va.