January 2008

Rocky Road

I wish to commend 5280 for publishing an article on the sick workers from Rocky Flats ["Out in the Cold," November]. Mike Kessler did a fabulous job of researching this complicated issue and accurately reporting the problems the workers or their survivors face under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program. I have been an advocate for some workers for many years. I thought I had developed a thick skin until I read this article. Kessler portrayed the anguish the workers have experienced from this program so clearly that readers can't ignore the insanity they face in order to receive benefits for being placed in harm's way.
Terrie Barrie
Grassroots Organization of Sick Workers

Doctor's Note, Part II

I was honored to be featured in 5280 this year as one of your Top Docs. I was subsequently saddened to read the letters to the editor in your December issue criticizing some of my comments. Although upset by these letters, I do appreciate them in that they brought to my attention a different interpretation of the point I was trying to make. I understand how R. Glenn and Miss Friedman could have come to their conclusions. It's important to keep in mind the article that was published in the October Top Doctors issue was written from a phone interview with a staff writer. It was a wonderful interview, but only a portion of it was published. There is, of course, no way I would wish any type of cancer on anyone. The message I was trying to get across is there is no adequate treatment for melanoma. The survival rate, if not caught early, is dismal. The treatments we have available for breast and prostate cancer are much superior, and we see many more survivors. I extend my apologies to anyone who was offended, as this was not my intent. The physicians that voted for me and my patients can attest that I am anything but ignorant, without empathy, flippant, or without knowledge of the ravaging effects of cancer.
Leslie Capin, M.D.
via e-mail

I was amazed by the vicious and uninformed letters written by Lynne Friedman and R. Glenn in response to Dr. Capin's comments about melanoma versus breast and prostate cancer. Let me set the record straight by telling your readers that as an epidemiologist I concur with Dr. Capin. From a treatment perspective, it's statistically correct that breast and prostate cancers are simply more responsive to treatment and have significantly better prognoses than do melanomas.
Carol L. Goldstein, R.N., Ph.D.

I believe readers who so vehemently objected to Dr. Capin's remarks about rather having breast or prostate cancer ignored the context of her remark. Her statement that "None of the treatments or drugs we have right now work well for deep melanoma" presents the background she was clearly coming from in mentioning the other cancers. No objective reader could miss the comparison she was drawing between cancers that can often be effectively treated and one that is more problematic.
Jean Monforton

In "Splurges & Steals" [Nov.] we stated a shopper must be with a designer to enter the Denver Design Center. A customer must only have one to purchase items. We regret the error.

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