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by Abigail Van Buren

No News Can Be Bad News Where Cancer Is Concerned

DEAR ABBY: I read a letter in your column in the Oregonian that shook me up. It was from a woman who said that her husband had had a physical every year since 1971, checked out 100 percent -- then out of the blue he was diagnosed as having inoperable prostate cancer! No one had told him that if his father or a brother had had prostate cancer, he should take a P.S.A. blood test. After I read this in your column, I wrote "GET THIS" on the column and handed it to my husband, because his brother has had prostate cancer. So with no symptoms, my husband took the P.S.A. test and was found to have early prostate cancer!

Thank God for that letter -- and thank you, Abby, for publishing it. I had copies made and sent them to all my male relatives. I even posted one on the bulletin board at our club. You may use my name. -- BOBBI (MRS. FRED) JACKSON, SOUTH BEACH, ORE.

DEAR BOBBI: Thank you for permitting me to use your name. For those readers out there who want to know -- the name of the blood test is "Prostatic-Specific Antigen." And for those who need a nudge in the right direction -- read on:

DEAR ABBY: This is a story about two men. One of them is my friend who went to his doctor for his regular physical examination. An elevated blood count indicated that he needed further testing and, as suspected, it was found he had two cancerous polyps on his prostate. They were removed by a simple surgical procedure. Prognosis: He will probably live a normal life.

The other one is my brother, who had ample warning of the same problem for a year, but who kept putting off a visit to the doctor until it became absolutely necessary. By then, the cancer had spread through his system and he required radical and painful surgery. Prognosis: We buried him last week, and it was so unnecessary! Please excuse the tear stains. I miss my brother. -- GRIEVING IN THE OZARKS

DEAR ABBY: Last weekend I went camping with my family and a friend. I met a really special guy who I fell for right away. The problem is, I told him I was 17 (I am 15).

He is 17. Now I am worried that he will be mad at me for lying and think I am too young. The reason I told him I was older is because a lot of guys think I'm too young even before they get to know me. I look 17 and am very mature.

I don't think age should matter if two people really like each other. How do I convince him that I like him so much, and that I'm sorry for lying? -- SORRY I LIED IN YUBA CITY, CALIF.

DEAR SORRY: Age does matter during the teen years, and so does the degree of maturity. Some 17-year-old "boys" are men -- and much depends upon his degree of maturity at age 17. Liking him so much that you lied about your age is not much of a defense, but my advice is just to be straightforward and tell him what you've told me. Lying about one's age is, in itself, immature. But if he likes you enough, perhaps he'll be forgiving.

To get Abby's booklet "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054. (Postage is included.)

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