Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Wednesday, October 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Night 35° Clear
News >  Spokane

Letters To The Editor


Iodine-131-thyroid cancer link figures

Radiation scientists shouldn’t have been surprised that there is an apparent connection between exposure to iodine 131 and an increased risk of developing thyroid cancer and other thyroid gland dysfunctions (“Belated study creates own fallout,” News, July 25).

It has long been known that iodine plays a key role in the thyroid gland’s function as a regulator of the body’s metabolism. The fact that thyroid tissue readily takes up iodine has been used to diagnose the extent to which thyroid cancer has spread to other areas of a patient’s body.

By giving them a small dose of iodine 131, the spread of cancerous thyroid tissue can be mapped by scanning for radioactivity given off by the iodine 131. In higher doses, iodine 131 has been used as therapy for thyroid cancer. If iodine 131 is used to kill cancerous thyroid tissue, how surprising is it to find that it’s also harmful to healthy thyroid tissue?

I’m not an expert in this field, but I learned a lot about these procedures when they were used during the diagnosis and treatment of my thyroid cancer in 1967. I distinctly recall my Spokane endocrinologist commenting about the unusual increase in thyroid cancer he was seeing in the young people of this region.

Subsequent information about Hanford’s releases of large amounts of iodine 131 in the ‘40s and ‘50s have probably cleared up that mystery for him. Michael Helland Eloika Lake, Wash.

Murray a latecomer, not a leader

Sen. Patty Murray did not bring the fight for Gulf War illnesses to the Northwest. Many veterans and families have been waging this battle for several years.

We, the Idaho Chapter of the Desert Storm Justice Foundation, have been in the forefront. Five of us traveled to Seattle in June of 1996 to testify before the Presidential Advisory Committee. So did residents of Spokane.

In October of 1996, KREM 2 produced an award-winning six-part series featuring six couples from the Northwest who are affected daily by Gulf War illnesses. Do they not count in this fight?

What about Sens. Larry Craig and Dirk Kempthorne or Rep. Helen Chenoweth, do they not count? They have been aware and active for several years. Did Murray include Craig in her plans for these hearings held at Gonzaga? They both sit on the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, and Chenoweth maintains that position on the House side.

I am sure if she would have networked with her colleagues, there would have been more in attendance. Our group, a registered not-for-profit veterans organization, was not notified of these hearings. Did anyone on her staff contact any organizations that would have an interest in this issue? Northwest Gulf War veterans and their families have been leaders in gaining recognition, treatment and compensation for Gulf War illnesses. Murray is joining them. And she is a little slow in doing so. Debra K. Smith, public affairs officer Idaho Chapter, Desert Storm Justice Foundation, Lewiston

‘Joe Chemo’ tactic misleading, hurtful

I have some very sincere concerns regarding the Joe Chemo article of July 28 (“Parody deadly serious,”News).

I recently completed radiation and chemotherapy. On my first visit to the doctor’s office to discuss my chemo treatment, I was so frightened I was ill. As I walked into the examining room, I caught a glimpse of the patients who were receiving chemo and my knees buckled.

As I received my treatment, I was surrounded with wonderful people who were there to see to it that my treatment was successful and that I was comfortable and as well informed as I could be. Those of us in the chemo room are a far cry from Joe Chemo.

People having chemo treatment are not lying in bed “contemplating their lives.” Far from it. There is hope and love among the people facing cancer.

Shame on anyone who believes that most, if not all, of the people who suffer with this disease have asked for it or have made a poor choice in their lifestyles that somehow makes it OK for them to be ill.

Please, ask those folks to find another wand to wave, one that gives a message of hope, not despair and hopelessness. Virginia N. Way Spokane

Gender bias made painfully clear

I recall that there was quite a hue and cry raised about how brutal female circumcision is. Yet, in the column by Karen Garloch (“A parent’s choice,” IN Life, Aug. 4) the most negative things said about male circumcision was that it “is unnecessary and harmful” and it’s “when sex and violence meet for the first time.”

This reflects an apparent cultural attitude that mutilation of the male genitalia is an acceptable (and in some circles, recommended) behavior, while mutilation of the female genitalia is a brutal sexual assault on the body of a female and should not be tolerated in a civilized country.

Circumcision is child abuse, pure and simple. But apparently, the male child doesn’t deserve the level of protection that the female child receives. Come to think of it, when one compares the amount of money spent on breast cancer research to that spent on prostate cancer research, apparently, adult males don’t deserve the level of protection from cancer that adult females do.

Color us males as both abusable and expendable. Francis E. Kent Four Lakes

Mother erred; Authorities overreacted

Re: “Clash of cultures landed mom in jail,” News, July 31.

I know there is a lot of child mistreatment going on all over. Child abuse is terrible, and the people who do this should be arrested and have to pay for their crime. And there are a lot of poor little ones who aren’t alive today.

But my heart went out to Olena Bezzubenkova, only here for a month from Ukraine, who left her 15-month-old son in the car at Deaconess Medical Center while trying to find an interpreter. She can’t speak English, so I would think her 15-month-old son can’t either.

Like it said in the newspaper, they are from a different culture, which leads me to believe their children are safer over there than ours are here.

She had to be very scared when arrested and held in jail for 30 hours. Her little one also had to be very scared when taken away.

She and her sister kept going and checking on the little one, they said.

We all know that you never leave a child alone in a car. But why, after talking to her for an hour at the hospital with an interpreter, couldn’t they have given her a ticket and let her go home with her little boy instead of putting them through the ordeal? Why was she in jail for 30 hours?

I wonder what they think of their new home now?

They need time to learn our laws. I don’t believe she should have to pay for child mistreatment. I think she learned her lesson the hard way already. Sally B. Hazlett Spokane


Can I-676 backers make it make sense?

Just some questions for supporters of Initiative 676:

My father gave me gun safety instruction, as did the state (hunter safety) and the Marine Corp. Why must I take another course?

I keep all my handguns unloaded and in a locked gun safe. Why must I buy trigger locks that I will never use?

What will a gun safety course cost me?

Who will provide this gun safety course?

Who will certify the instructors and the course?

If you took an out-of-state course, will it be valid?

It will take time to train and certify instructors. What will the grace period to be to get this training? You can’t take a course if there are no instructors.

If I fail or cannot get this course, what will happen to my guns? Will I be able to sell them or will the state confiscate them?

Criminals do not obey the laws and fools don’t use common sense, so how will this law protect anyone? James E. Teague Cheney

More gun laws unnecessary

There exists in our state and country a wealth of laws that need only to be enforced against those of the criminal element in regard to gun laws.

On the matter of firearms safety, there are plenty of law-abiding people who are willing and able to help train and educate others, without the creation of another governmental body to pay taxes for.

Unfortunately, we have to give up a lot of time and money just trying to maintain rights that have been recognized since the days of ancient Greece. There is indeed an agenda to disarm the lawful citizen. Don’t fall prey to the deception, but rather search out the truth. Read and understand how the Founding Fathers viewed the duty and right of self-protection.

Thomas Jefferson said, “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.” Bruce D. Landahl Elk

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.

New health insurance plans available Nov. 1 through Washington Healthplanfinder

 (Photo courtesy WAHBE)

Fall means the onset of the cold and flu season.