letters

Katie Couric’s Breast Cancer Diagnosis

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Credit...Karsten Moran for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Katie Couric Talks About Her Breast Cancer Diagnosis” (nytimes.com, Sept. 28):

Bravo to Katie Couric not only for sharing her breast cancer diagnosis, but also for raising awareness about breast density, which is an independent risk factor for developing breast cancer.

Women with dense breasts have a higher incidence of breast cancer. Compounding this increased risk is the fact that mammograms of dense breasts — breasts with a higher proportion of fibroglandular tissue compared with fatty tissue — are less effective at identifying cancers because the dense tissue can obscure signs of breast cancer and lower the sensitivity of the image.

In 2018 the Brem Foundation to Defeat Breast Cancer helped to pass a Washington, D.C., law requiring health care facilities to provide mammography results, including patients’ breast tissue classification, to patients. The law also requires insurance coverage for essential screenings beyond mammograms — such as ultrasound — that women with dense breasts and other risk factors need to diagnose their breast cancer. Similar bills have been passed in many states.

It is high time that the Food and Drug Administration take action at the federal level to address breast density and modernize breast cancer screening and diagnosis. Doing so will save countless lives.

Clare Dougherty
Washington
The writer is C.E.O. of the Brem Foundation to Defeat Breast Cancer.

To the Editor:

Joel Tan, a gay Singaporean playwright, writes, “I Have Worked and Loved in Other Countries Because I Can’t at Home” (Opinion guest essay, Sept. 26).

Many L.G.B.T. people lead fulfilling lives in Singapore. They do so in all fields, including Mr. Tan’s, the arts.

This is not to minimize his pain, but L.G.B.T. rights remain divisive issues everywhere, including in the United States.

In Singapore, too — by some measures the world’s most religiously diverse nation — people hold very divergent views on L.G.B.T. rights.

In 2007, the government decided not to enforce Section 377A of the Penal Code, which criminalizes sex between men, but left the law itself unchanged.

Fifteen years later, Singaporeans have become more accepting of homosexuals, enabling us to repeal Section 377A, and thus provide some relief to gay Singaporeans.

But the majority of Singaporeans, not just a few “hard-line conservatives,” continue to believe that marriage must be between a man and a woman.

The Singapore courts are not the right forum to decide this issue. So we are amending our Constitution to ensure that same-sex marriage cannot become legal through a court challenge. It can happen only if Parliament legislates to allow it.

The current ruling party has said it will not do this, but neither will it tie the hands of future parliaments.

Reaching a political accommodation balancing different legitimate views takes time. All sides must recognize that no party in this deeply divisive matter should expect to enforce its views on all.

Our goal is to hold our society together, and avoid tearing ourselves apart in self-righteous fury.

Ashok Kumar Mirpuri
Washington
The writer is Singapore’s ambassador to the United States.

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Credit...Tai Power Seeff for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Film on Jihad Causes Storm Over Identity” (front page, Sept. 25):

As co-executive producers of “Jihad Rehab,” we believe that the time and care that the filmmaker, Meg Smaker, took in researching the lives of the former Guantánamo detainees she portrayed, as well as the extent of her immersion in Muslim culture, did indeed qualify her to tell their story.

The notion that a story can be truthfully depicted only by those of the same ethnicity and gender as its subjects would have, if applied through the ages, deprived the world of a great deal of important work. Yes, reports from inside a culture have a definite edge over interpretation by outsiders, but talent and perceptiveness and a desire to make the information available can counterbalance these advantages. It’s not an either/or question.

Certainly Meg’s film wasn’t utterly flawless — few documentaries are — and she’s now made some minor adjustments to it, but it told a necessary, powerful human story that conveyed with great sympathy many facets of the experience of these particular men accused of terrorism.

This is why we continued to support the film during the controversy surrounding it, and why we hope that audiences will soon be able to arrive at their own conclusions by viewing it for themselves. In the meantime, we proudly stand by Meg and her work.

Jamie Wolf
Nathalie Seaver
Los Angeles
Ms. Wolf is the founder and president of Foothill Productions, and Ms. Seaver is its executive vice president.

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Credit...Illustration by Rebecca Chew/The New York Times; photograph by Stephen Maturen, via Getty Images

To the Editor:

To help ensure integrity in governing, the following question needs to be asked, by reporters and constituents, of every candidate who believes that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent:

“So, you are running on the belief that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent, even after many in-depth investigations were conducted, and dozens of lawsuits were filed, and they all showed that there was no evidence of fraud.

“Therefore, please tell me what other beliefs and policy positions are in your campaign platform (and in your governing plans, if you are elected) that also have no evidence to support them?”

Richard Johnson
Madison, Wis.