Advantages of Being Left-Handed

I am a left-handed person who is nearly ambidextrous because this is a right-handed world. I take issue with your report that lefties live shorter lives and are more likely to have older mothers, and that therefore older women are more inclined to have stressful pregnancies {The Cutting Edge, July 31}.

The fact is that left-handedness runs in families: My grandmother died at 83, my mother-in-law is still living at 90; I am 58, and all of us, as well as my son, were born to mothers in their twenties. We are all left-handed. All of us had children after extremely short labor, only a few hours.

I consider left-handedness a gift. We are a creative lot, mainly in math and music. In fact, I can't imagine being anything else. How come, in all these surveys about what left-handers are like, nobody ever calls me? Susan A. Fannon Alexandria An Open Letter on Breast Cancer

The big push on early diagnosis of breast cancer is critical, since 10 percent of us will get the disease. I want to share with you the knowledge that you can do correctly everything recommended and still come out with metastatic breast cancer. I had mammograms every six months, checked my breasts every month, saw the gynecologist every year. I discovered my breast cancer. The mammogram taken the day after discovery showed nothing except lymph node involvement.

If you have any calcification or dense tissue or benign cysts in your breasts, do yourself a potentially lifesaving favor. See a breast surgeon every six months for a checkup. And when you do your self-exam, check way up in your armpits.

Don't trust the breast cancer patient profile, either. There was none in my family. I had my first child at 24, breast-fed my children and ate quite carefully. Although there are women who live for many years, mostly those who do had no lymph node involvement. Chemotherapy does not have a high success rate, and breast cancer that reaches the lymph nodes remains one of the most difficult cancers to cure.

Each year, a higher percentage of women are diagnosed with breast cancer. If this warning helps just one woman, I will be gratified. Nancy Wolf

My wife Nancy wrote this. She died on June 27 at age 42. Malcolm Wolf Potomac Concerns About Genetic Engineering

The fascinating article on genetically engineered mice used for cancer experiments did not mention anything about the legal system for regulating this type of research. It noted Harvard's patent on the "oncomouse" and the fact that DuPont has commercial rights to produce the oncomice. But such restrictions exist to protect these institutions' rights and do not address the question of how the public is protected from irresponsible, unnecessary or potentially dangerous experimentation.

Misgivings of scientists and laypeople alike might be allayed if they knew such work was being controlled and regulated by a scientific review system. These experiments are exciting from the standpoint of research developments but alarming as well, considering the type of research discussed. M.H. Miller Washington

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