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by Abigail Van Buren

Man's Yearly Physicals Missed Growing Cancer

DEAR ABBY: I am writing this from a well-known cancer and tumor clinic in Texas.

We are here because my husband, who has had a complete physical every year since 1971, has inoperable prostate cancer. I am angry and bitter because no doctor, during 20 years of annual physical examinations that included a digital rectal examination, ever mentioned that there are blood tests which can detect prostate cancer.

We have been told that my husband has had this disease for at least seven to eight years. We also learned that if a man's brother or father has had prostate cancer, his chances of getting cancer are increased 2 1/2 times! In every medical questionnaire my husband has ever filled out, he stated that his father had died of prostatic cancer. (His brother was diagnosed last week with the same disease!)

We are hoping that our experience will educate others so they will not find themselves where we are. We strongly urge all "high risk" men to be examined by a urologist, because many physicians do not recognize prostate disease. -- ANGRY AND BITTER

DEAR ANGRY AND BITTER: You have every right to be both angry and bitter, and I thank you for trying to warn others.

For readers who do not know what "high risk" means in this context, it refers to people whose blood relatives have been afflicted with the same disease.