Published November 30, 2012
Beyond the Bricks

Mammograms Lead to Misdiagnosis

According to a CBS news article, a study published in the November 22 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine alleges that mammograms have played a critical role in recommending over one million women in the United States for unnecessary medical procedures. While the U.S. has come to promote mammography as a tool to discern cancer, recent studies suggest that not all cancers pose any serious risk, nor do they merit the oftentimes invasive treatment that follows a malignant cancer diagnosis.

After analyzing mammography and cancer statistics between 1976 and 2008, researchers documented cancer onset rates, and whether or not breast cancer spread to other areas of the body. As stated by CBS news, “The study suggests that up to one-third of breast cancers or 50,000 to 70,000 cases a year don't need treatment”. Biopsies, surgeries, radiation therapy, hormone therapy and chemotherapy have been performed at the expense of women whose health might not have been otherwise affected.

Unnecessary exposure to radiation, cancer diagnosis anxiety and financial costs remain a legitimate concerns regarding mammography. Despite these newfound statistics, women’s health advocates continue to emphasize the value of mammograms in detecting the onset of breast cancer and other illnesses.

Chinese Passports Upset Neighboring Countries

According to Voice of America, new Chinese passports “feature a map of China that includes areas of the South China Sea claimed by other countries, as well as territory claimed by India”. Through these illustrations are displayed on its national travel logs, China has effectively laid claim to the regions, and resources associated with each, sparking political controversy worldwide.

Several nations, including the Philippines, Vietnam and India, have opposed the passports. A conference held by the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations failed to yield an adequate response to the subtle political move. The Chinese Foreign Ministry’s official comment on the matter has been to deny an attempt to target certain nations.

Tensions regarding a potential maritime conflict have led the United States to take part in the debate, in an effort to protect its own freedom of navigation. Although President Obama has encouraged the development of protocol for the South China Sea, China has refused to cooperate.

Wal-Mart Workers Protest Pay

Protestors, including Wal-Mart employees and supporters alike, demonstrated their opposition to the superstore’s business practices Black Friday. Spurred by claims of inadequate employee wages and benefits, demonstrators gathered at retailers across the country, carrying signs that proclaimed, “Live better.” According to ABC News, “a union-backed group called OUR Walmart has said that it is holding an estimated 1,000 protests in 46 states”. Dallas, Los Angeles and Chicago were among targeted cities for the employee strike and protest marches.

Despite these reports, Wal-Mart itself has denounced such statistics, claiming them to be exaggerated and stating that very few of its employees have become involved in the movement. The company has in fact been investigated in the past, with regard to employee treatment and wage and benefit policies. Wal-Mart, whose associates are non-unionized, boasts a low employee turnover rate and over 10,000 stores across the globe.

In spite of protestors’ efforts, most shoppers were undeterred by their actions. Furthermore, Wal-Mart released a statement reporting its highest “Black Friday” revenue to date.

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