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Letters: KC readers discuss cancer screenings, Missouri flooding and restaurant workers

·3 min read

Think forward

With his Nov. 28 guest commentary, “This vote in Congress is about life and death,” (21A) Steve Hentzen illustrates the decadeslong disconnect between the scientific community’s capabilities and the bureaucracy of policymakers responsible for early-detection reimbursement models.

A common perception is that someone diagnosed with cancer made a poor lifestyle choice, when the reality is that the majority of cancers have no known risk factors and no symptoms and are diagnosed at late stages when survivorship rates are poor. Today, we are fighting a war using last-century technology: traditional chemotherapy with the expectations that outcomes will magically improve.

For months, multiple primary-care physicians could not get to the bottom of my progressively worsening cough. Months went by without a lifesaving CT scan because I didn’t meet the criteria for lung cancer screening as a never-smoker. The ultimate path to diagnosis was an expensive one, with more than $250,000 in charges before an accurate diagnosis.

A blood test that will soon be available could have saved me the emotional trauma of being diagnosed with a Stage IV lung cancer at the age of 51.

Cancer can strike anyone at any time. As a fellow cancer survivor, this essay is our battle cry.

- Michelle Hills, Overland Park

Stop flooding cycle

An issue that often gets overshadowed by partisan agendas is the nationwide flooding that affects millions of Americans each year. In Missouri, we are vulnerable to flood damage in both our rural and urban centers. Homes, businesses and roads suffer when flooding occurs. We must adapt with new and appropriate strategies to more efficiently deal with the economic and personal damage caused by repeated flooding.

Thankfully, H.R. 481, the Flood Resiliency and Taxpayer Savings Act, does just that. This legislation reforms federal policy for flooding and requires greater accountability for how tax dollars are used. Many funds are wasted rebuilding the same buildings and roads year after year, but this plan would require more research on the likelihood of flood damage — and then ensure that a plan is set in place to avoid repeated recovery costs.

H.R. 481 is a game-changer — not just for America, but for Missouri, specifically. We can finally move beyond the “one step forward, two steps back” dance that we have been stuck in for far too long. Most important, we can save taxpayer dollars while increasing their effectiveness, which should always be the government’s goal.

- Linda Niendick, Higginsville, Missouri

What a mess

My husband and I recently returned home from a road trip through Arkansas, Tennessee, Illinois, Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. Every one of the aforementioned states has better roads than Missouri. Interstate 70 between St. Louis and Kansas City is dangerous. There were deer carcasses littered all along the highway.

This isn’t a new problem. Everyone knows improvements need to be made. It should be Missouri’s first priority.

And don’t even get me started on the litter in and around the Kansas City area, definitely a disgrace. I’m embarrassed for any visitors who pass through our otherwise beautiful city. Why do people litter anyway?

- Toni Pence, Kansas City

That’s talent

I seldom laugh out loud reading the editorial page, but the Nov. 19 commentary, “This one goes out to every whiny brat customer at a restaurant,” (9A) was a delightful exception. The 17-year-old author’s case for more respect for the hardworking restaurant employee hit home with insightful wit.

Surely The Washington Post or a similar news organization could hire this obviously bright and articulate young woman to write some more, and maybe supplement or replace her $7.50-per-hour plus tips “part time” job.

- Brian Casement, Lee’s Summit

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