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The art of medicine is knowing when to stop

This is in regard to the recent front-page article on a screening blood test for cancer cells. I'll bet the majority of the population would have at least one cancer cell among the billions of circulating normal ones. This may just be a normal consequence of aging and of no great concern. And what do you do if you find one? This would certainly not obviate the need for the technology already in existence. Scans, MRIs, ultrasounds and biopsies would increase more than a thousand-fold, and medical costs would increase maybe to the trillions. Money should not be a concern when it comes to the health of the people, but I am concerned about the needless anxiety, worry and stress that such a test would cause.

This situation is analogous to the prostate cancer question. We learned a half century ago in medical schools that most men would outlive this low-grade malignancy. It has now been shown that, in many instances, the PSA test has done more harm than good.

If you dig deep enough, you're bound to find something. I don't mean to be fatalistic or sound like a nihilist, but the art of medicine is knowing when to stop. Be it diagnosis or treatment, to do just enough, but not too much. If you cross the line, the consequences may have a negative impact (physically or psychological). I admit I don't know where this point is -- and I doubt anyone does.

Statistics are fine, but they are practically meaningless when it comes to the individual patient. Expectations should not rise to the unrealistic. My impression from the media is that everyone should have a certain test or procedure done. Not so. All medical decisions should be the exclusive province of the patient and his or her physician, without undue influence from unknowledgeable outsiders.

Anthony C. Borgese, M.D.



Man who molested girls deserved time in prison

I am appalled by the decision handed down by State Supreme Court Justice John L. Michalski. According to a Dec. 31 News article, Phillip Evans of Chatham Avenue was sentenced to 10 years probation, fined $1,425 and registered as a sex offender for molesting not one but two young innocent little girls. Are you kidding me?

Where is the justice? This judge obviously was not thinking too clearly on his decision. That man robbed these little girls of their childhood and their innocence. These babies have nightmares and are in therapy, while this molester walks.

Does the judge honestly think Evans won't do it again? He needs to be in prison. Furthermore, an order of protection of eight years for these girls against him is not long enough.

Kat Shanor

Grand Island


Let's find a better word for Cuomo's companion

Why do I hear something derogatory in the term "girlfriend" when applied to people past a certain age? Does it have to do with the way I react when I hear any woman over the age of 21 referred to as a "girl"? It's especially trying when used in the company of mature ladies, many of whom just giggle at the thought of being called a girl. But others, like me, find themselves cringing as they cast an evil eye at the perpetrator, who often displays a teasing smile that says, "I know you love it, dear" -- or "honey" or "darling."

Yes, I came of age in the '60s and '70s. Yes, I joined the fight for equal rights for women -- I'm still waiting. But isn't it a little disingenuous to call the New York State governor's lady a "girlfriend"? We break new ground all the time trying to keep up with politically correct terminology, particularly as it applies to couples not married in the traditional sense. Isn't there a more respectful way to describe Sandra Lee's relationship with the governor? Can we make her his "companion" or "partner" or some other term commonly applied to couples today, especially those over the age of 18?

And one needn't discard the past when searching for just the right word. One of my sweetest moments came when dating a man of a certain age, as was I. My friend asked if I was attending a party and whether I would be bringing my "beau." How wonderfully old fashioned and free of implication. Surely The News can come up with an equally kind way to refer to Lee.

Mary Ellen Smolinski



No one was 'coerced' to pay parking fees

A recent letter writer bemoaned the "blessings of capitalism." He was referring to the overcharging of parking rates during the recent junior hockey tournament. According to him, people were "coerced" into paying exorbitant rates to park their cars.

Excuse me, sir, but one of the many blessings of capitalism is that you are not coerced to pay for anything against your will. You can go down the street and purchase from someone who is charging less for the same product.

Ah, that is the blessing of true capitalism. Long may it live!

Thomas McNichol

West Seneca


Political correctness

is getting out of hand

Even though we are in the midst of fighting two wars, I applaud the Navy for firing the commander of the USS Enterprise after he taped several "bawdy" videos, which were intended to boost troop morale. I now call on our military to posthumously reprimand Civil War Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman for his oft-quoted statement, "War is hell." I find this usage of the word "hell" to be an affront to my personal, cultural and religious sensitivities.

Paul McCarthy

East Amherst


M&T Bank could help revitalize downtown

I hope the article about M&T and First Niagara Bank turning Buffalo into the next Charlotte will come to pass. First Niagara has already opened a new headquarters in a previously depressed area of the city. The visual and economic improvement to the neighborhood has been dramatic. Wouldn't it be nice if M&T, with all its expansion and success, would do the same thing for downtown Buffalo?

Am I the only one to see the possibility of M&T purchasing and renovating the old vacant AM&As site? The bank headquarters and the AM&As site sit across Eagle Street from each other. Perhaps a tunnel or a sky bridge could be constructed to join the buildings together. Taking a long-vacant building and turning it into room for M&T expansion, and bringing some of its suburban operations and workers back to the central business district, would make for a long-overdue improvement to our city.

Our local banks have always been leaders in downtown development. Let's hope that M&T will see what a positive move this could be for the renaissance of Buffalo.

Brian Will


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