More than 600,000 Americans will die from cancer this year alone.

Lives are at risk. More than 600,000 Americans will die from cancer this year alone, and some of those deaths are preventable.

As a cancer survivor and someone who recently lost a younger sister to cancer, I traveled to Washington, D.C., recently to let my voice be heard and to call on Congress to make investments in cancer research a top priority.

I met with the staffs of Sens. Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham and Rep. Trey Gowdy and explained to them that each dollar Congress puts toward cancer research offers hope to so many Americans. New breakthroughs in treatment and prevention won’t sit idle in labs across the country — instead they will be delivered to those who need them the most. And some of this work is being done right here in town.

Now is not the time to turn back the clock on progress made. By increasing medical research funding at the National Institutes of Health by $2 billion, we can get closer to the funding levels that existed in 2003, and we can continue to make progress in the fight against cancer.

Jim Weeks, volunteer, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Spartanburg

 

Expanded Medicaid

Since my retirement from hematology/oncology 13 years ago, I have volunteered in the St. Luke’s Free Medical Clinic seeing internal medicine patients. These individuals have no insurance of any kind.

Two years ago, I began seeing a 32-year-old woman with cryptogenic cirrhosis (“cryptogenic” because the cirrhosis was not related to any definable cause such as alcohol or hepatitis B or C). In spite of multiple hospital admissions for hepatic coma and esophageal variceal bleeding, and in spite of my calls on her behalf to our congressional representatives (all Republicans), she never “qualified” for Medicaid and died five months ago from end-stage cirrhosis since, without Medicaid, she could not be a liver transplant candidate.

If South Carolina had accepted expanded Medicaid, she would have had insurance and would very likely still be alive.

James Smith and running mate Mandy Norrell are the Democratic candidates for governor and lieutenant governor. Improved health care and Medicaid expansion are central issues to their campaign. They promise to convince our state’s congressional representatives to expand Medicaid, 93 percent of the cost of which would come from federal coffers.

I urge all of you to vote for James Smith for governor and Mandy Norrell for lieutenant governor, thereby putting an end to heartless governance in our state.

Dr. James Bradof, Spartanburg

 

A conundrum

Imagine my surprise when I opened our paper recently and saw in very large print: “McMaster applauds the arts during Spartanburg stop.”

It seems curious and rather hypocritical that Gov. Henry McMaster, who vetoed $350,000 for the S.C. Arts Commission in June despite bipartisan support from both the House and Senate, gave an interesting talk at Drayton Mills Marketplace. According to the Herald-Journal, McMaster spoke of “the importance the arts play in driving South Carolina’s economy forward.”

He went on to say, “Sometimes we need to slow down, stop, think and appreciate, and that’s what the arts can do for us.”

I believe there is a conundrum here. How can McMaster, in one voice, veto needed monies for our arts, and in another voice praise the very groups he’s rapidly choking financially?

McMaster might be wise to revisit the following quote: “I believe arts education in music, theater, dance, and the visual arts is one of the most creative ways we have to find the gold that is buried just beneath the surface.” — Richard W. Riley, former U.S. secretary of education

Prudence Scott, Spartanburg