9 Deaths Are Linked to Rare Cancer From Breast Implants

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/21/health/breast-implants-cancer-deaths.html

A rare cancer first linked to breast implants in 2011 has now been associated with nine deaths, the Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday.

As of Feb. 1, the agency had received a total of 359 reports of the cancer associated with the implants. The deaths were not caused by breast cancer, the agency said, but by a rare malignancy in the immune system, anaplastic large-cell lymphoma. In cases linked to implants, this rare form of cancer grows in the breast, usually in the capsule of scar tissue that forms around an implant. It is usually treatable and not often fatal.

The problem is more likely to occur with textured implants, which have a pebbly surface, than with smooth implants, the agency said. Of the 359 reported cases, 231 included information about the implant surface: 203 were textured, and 28 smooth.

The contents of the implants appeared much less important: Of 312 cases where the contents were known, 186 were filled with silicone gel, and 126 with saline.

Cases generally come to light when symptoms develop, like lumps, pain, fluid buildup and swelling.

The agency said it was impossible to say how many cases exist, because of limited reporting of problems and a lack of worldwide sales data on implants.

About 290,000 women in the United States had implants for breast enlargement in 2016, and 109,000 received them for reconstruction after breast cancer, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

In many cases when the lymphoma occurs, just removing the implant and the tissue around it eliminates the disease. But some women may need chemotherapy and radiation.

Why there is a difference in risk related to the surfaces is not known, but the body’s reaction to textured implants is different from its reaction to smooth ones, according to Dr. Alex K. Wong, a plastic surgeon and researcher at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine. Tissue grows into microscopic grooves in the textured implants.

“When we take these out, you can hear a peeling sound,” Dr. Wong said. “Whereas with a smooth implant, it’s like Jell-O. You can spin it around. It moves really easily.”

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/21/health/breast-implants-cancer-deaths.html

The Crisis of Governance

From Robert Reich:  http://robertreich.org/post/158693999145

Robert Reich
Wednesday, March 22, 2017

America is in a crisis of governance. There is no adult in charge.

Instead, we have as president an unhinged narcissistic child who tweets absurd lies and holds rallies to prop up his fragile ego, whose conflicts of financial interest are ubiquitous, and whose presidency is under a “gray cloud” of suspicion (according to the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee) for colluding with Russian agents to obtain office in the 2016 election.

He’s advised by his daughter, his son-in-law, and an oddball who once ran a white supremacist fake-news outlet.

His cabinet is an assortment of billionaires, CEOs, veterans of Wall Street, and ideologues, none of whom has any idea about how to govern and most of whom don’t believe in the laws their departments are in charge of implementing anyway.

He has downgraded or eviscerated groups responsible for giving presidents professional advice on foreign policy, foreign intelligence, economics, science, and domestic policy. He gets most of what he learns from television.

Meanwhile, Congress is in the hands of Republicans who for years have only said “no,” who have become expert at stopping whatever a president wants to do but don’t have a clue how to initiate policy, most of whom have never passed a budget into law, and, more generally, don’t much like government and have not shared responsibility for governing the nation.

As a result of all this, the most powerful nation in the world with the largest economy in the world is rudderless and leaderless.

Where we need thoughtful resolve we have thoughtless name-calling. Where we need democratic deliberation we have authoritarian rants and rallies. Where we need vision we have myopia.

The only way out of this crisis of governance is for us – the vast majority of Americans who deserve and know better – to take charge. Your country needs you desperately.

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on The Crisis of Governance

HRC Mourns Alphonza Watson, Trans Woman Shot to Death in Baltimore

From HRC:  http://www.hrc.org/blog/hrc-mourns-alphonza-watson-trans-woman-shot-to-death-in-baltimore

By Gabe Murchison
March 23, 2017

HRC mourns the tragic death of Alphonza Watson, a 38-year-old transgender Baltimore woman, who died yesterday morning after being shot in the stomach.

According to The Washington Post, witnesses told police they heard cries for help and gunshots, and saw two men speed away from the scene in a car. Suspects have not been identified, but police say they are canvassing the neighborhood.

Watson’s mother said her daughter had lived in Baltimore for over a decade, The Baltimore Sun reported. She described Watson as “the sunshine of our family,” a “caring, passionate” person who loved cooking and gardening.

ABC2 News interviewed members of Baltimore’s transgender community, who were rattled by the attack. Key’Ayshia Tucker, who works at Baltimore’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center, said the death brought her to tears—and explained that barriers to jobs and education put the trans women she works with at risk for violence.

Since 2014, at least six other transgender people, all Black women, have been killed in Maryland. Four of those victims were murdered in Baltimore. Most recently, in September of 2016, Southwest Baltimore resident Crystal Edmonds was found on a sidewalk with a gunshot wound, and later died at a hospital. The investigation into Edmonds’ death remains open. In June of 2014, Mia Henderson—the sister of NBA player Reggie Bullock—was stabbed to death in West Baltimore; a 43-year-old man was tried and acquitted for her murder.

Nationwide, Watson is at least the eighth transgender person killed this year. Seven victims have been Black women; the eighth was an Oglala Lakota woman, Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow. These deaths continue a disturbing pattern: among known murders of transgender people in the U.S. since 2013, more than three in four victims have been Black, and over 90 percent have been people of color. A Matter of Life and Death, published in November by HRC and the Trans People of Color Coalition, explains how racism, sexism and transphobia combine to put transgender women of color at disproportionate risk for violence and homicide.

HRC extends sincere condolences to Ms. Watson’s friends and family.

To learn more about HRC’s transgender justice work, including efforts to end violence against transgender people, click here.

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on HRC Mourns Alphonza Watson, Trans Woman Shot to Death in Baltimore

Texas cities predict dozens of canceled events if “bathroom bill” passes

From Texas Tribune:  https://www.texastribune.org/2017/03/23/dozens-national-meeting-planners-may-take-texas-their-list/

Tourism officials in the state’s four biggest cities expect to lose at least $407 million in revenue from upcoming events if the “bathroom bill” becomes law. Scores more event planners are likely to bypass Texas entirely in the future, they say. 

Every three years, the American Public Transportation Association holds an event it calls the APTA EXPO. For its 2026 EXPO, the trade group for the “bus, rapid transit and commuter rail systems industry” had put Dallas on its list of possible destinations, according to city officials, who estimated the event would generate more than $40 million in economic activity.

Then the “bathroom bill” began moving forward in the Texas Legislature. That prompted the association to warn the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau that it may be out of the running for an event nine years in the future.

“We are looking at several cities for our EXPO and Dallas is one city under consideration,” Lenay Gore, the association’s senior director of meetings and trade shows, told the Tribune. “If the law passes, we would not consider Texas for any future meetings.”

The group is just one of dozens of trade organizations, businesses and sports associations that have reached out to officials in Texas cities in recent months as the “bathroom bill” has drawn national attention. Tourism officials in the state’s four biggest cities – Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio – expect to lose at least $407 million in economic activity from missing out on potential upcoming events if the bill becomes law.

Beyond that, scores more event planners are likely to bypass Texas entirely in the future, they say.

“If this bill passes, by the time Texas feels any economic impact, it will be too late to react,” said Mike Waterman, president of the Greater Houston Convention Visitors Bureau. “You may not see a significant economic impact in 2017 or even 2018,” Waterman said. “But in 2019 you will see some and 2021, 2022 and 2023 could be potentially catastrophic.”

Senate Bill 6 — a legislative priority of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick — would regulate bathroom use in public schools and government buildings on the basis of “biological sex,” prohibiting most transgender people from using bathrooms that align with their gender identity. The legislation would also nix local anti-discrimination laws meant to allow transgender residents to use public bathrooms that match their gender identity.

Along with concerns about discrimination, the bill has also prompted concerns about its economic impact. North Carolina saw the cancellation of national events worth millions following its passage of a similar law. A recent survey of 212 meeting planners published in Meetings & Conventions magazine revealed that about half said that laws harming the rights of LGBTQ individuals would affect their site selection decisions.

Patrick has said the bill is addressing an important public safety issue.

“The bill is about public safety and the privacy of teenagers who don’t want to shower together in the tenth grade,” Patrick said.

Continue reading at:  https://www.texastribune.org/2017/03/23/dozens-national-meeting-planners-may-take-texas-their-list/