To the editors:
It is understandable that a woman diagnosed with breast cancer would feel scared, upset, and angry ["The Woman Killer," April 3].
I've just completed seven months of breast cancer treatment--surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation--so I know very well how it feels.
It is inexcusably infantile, however, to thrash about (as some of the women quoted in the article do) looking for someone or something to blame and ending up vilifying men.
Cancer, in its many forms, has, and sadly, continues, to ravage humankind across age and gender. What is amazing is the progress in prevention, treatment and cures that has been made in the last century. (Made by medical researchers of both genders, but predominately male, I might add).
At the University of Chicago Hospital I received equally skilled and sensitive-to-my-feelings care from both male and female physicians, nurses, and technicians. I want them all to know how deeply I thank them.
To the women quoted in the article--Bad things happen. Life contains suffering. No one asks you to like it but it's not helpful to concoct conspiracy theories.
Joanna R. Gutman W. Surf
Bryan Miller replies:
No one--at least no one I interviewed for my article--has suggested that there is a "conspiracy" to let women keep on suffering from breast cancer. But there has been a definite neglect of this major killer, particularly when the amount and funding of research on breast cancer is contrasted with the amount and funding of research on "male" diseases--AIDS, for example. The evidence that women's ailments have taken a backseat in the concerns of the majority of medical researchers and their funders is incontrovertible, and it's rather Pollyannaish to suggest otherwise.