Letters: Cancer In Your 20s And 'Ex-Gay' Therapy

NPR's Neal Conan reads from listener comments about previous show topics including the challenges of facing cancer in your 20s, and the controversial treatment known as reparative therapy that some argue can reverse homosexuality.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

It's Tuesday and time to read from your comments. Elaina Roach heard our conversation with Suleika Jaouad, the woman diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia at age 22 and posted this comment on our website: I have spent years working in childhood cancer as an RN and have taken care of a number of young adult patients, who all of had similar experiences with putting life on the pause to get treatment. I thank Suleika and NPR for sharing this story so that others experiencing a serious life changing illness don't feel alone.

Suleika's statement, you don't have to find the best words, but you do have to say something was also very important to hear for those who are on the outside looking in. Even being on the periphery, people have the best intentions, but can't always get over their own fear of what to say and how to say it to provide comfort and support.

Mitchell Jenkin in Grand Blanc, Michigan also heard Suleika's story and sent this email: I'm an ER physician, he wrote, and would like to comment on her frustration with her initial diagnosis. There is no easy solution to this problem. Physicians are trained that what's common is common, so a cancer diagnosis in a 23-year-old with fatigue is not going to be my first thought. I don't you can fault the initial physicians that did not come up with leukemia. Every patient needs to be a strong advocate for themselves. But physicians need to also consider all possible diagnosis. Good luck and I wish you the best.

Finally, during yesterday's program about Dr. Roberts Spitzer's decision to recant a study that some cite as proof that homosexuality can be cured, Laurel Fetterbush(ph) emailed from Ann Arbor: How can you pretend to be an impartial journalist when you present only one side of an issue? There are people who swear that they have benefitted from conversion therapy. Why not have one of them on your show to provide balance and fairness?

We asked Exodus International for a statement, and a spokesperson, Aimee Tracy wrote: in part, researchers such as Dr. Robert Spitzer and research findings may come and go. As one who participated in Dr. Spitzer's study, I believe that it simply highlighted the fact that we as a society should respect a persons right to self-determine their course of action when it comes to how they choose to live out their sexual expression. Dr. Spitzer's study also highlighted a group of people who have chosen to believe that the Bible is unchanging concerning human sexual behavior, including homosexuality.

You can find the full statement at our website. If you have a correction, comment or question for us, the best way to reach us is by email. The address is talk@npr.org. Please, let us know where you're writing from and give us some help on how to pronounce you name. If you're on Twitter, you can follow us there, @totn.

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