Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Mom Fears Son's Reaction to the Truth About His Birth

DEAR ABBY: Ten years ago, I became pregnant with "Joe's" baby. We were going to get married, but Joe got into a jam (armed robbery) and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Joe is due to get out in two months. Now the problem.

When my baby (I'll call him Gary) was 8 months old, I fell in love with a man I'll call Tony. Tony and I were married, and Gary was raised to believe that Tony is his "real" father. My family and Tony's family know the truth about Gary's "real" father, but nobody ever talks about it. Joe's mother and sister also know the whole story.

My question: Should I tell Gary who his real father is? Tony says he will support my decision.

I'm afraid I will lose Gary's trust if I tell him I have lied to him all these years.

What do you think? -- SILENT FOR 10 YEARS

DEAR SILENT: You had better tell Gary who his real father is before someone else does. It won't be easy, but it's far better that he hear it from you than from someone else, and when three people know a secret, it's no longer a secret.

DEAR ABBY: My beloved wife of 32 years just died of colon cancer, which had spread to her liver. She was 51 years old, healthy and beautiful. My two sons and I are in total shock. My wife had some colon cancer symptoms and was examined by a colon cancer specialist. The doctor proclaimed, "No problems." (She had cancer of the colon at the time of the examination.)

Eight months after the examination, the cancer had spread to her liver. It was finally discovered one year later! She lived with intense chemotherapy and pain for 14 months.

Abby, tell your readers that if they suspect that they have colon cancer, they should demand a complete colon examination, a blood test and A SECOND OPINION.

In my wife's case, the window of life was only eight months. America's dirty little secret is that there are about 1 million new cancer patients, and over half a million deaths from cancer every year.

Abby, please let the common people know. No one else will. -- LOST IN ATLANTA

DEAR LOST: With your help, I just have, and I thank you for coming forward with the statistics, which have been verified by the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society.

DEAR ABBY: Two weeks ago my husband and I were browsing in an antique shop when we came across a white porcelain figurine. On the bottom was stamped "MADE IN USA" -- and in even finer print were the letters "Japan."

Some people may deny that this occurred, but during World War II, I assure you it did.

Now we're sorry we didn't buy that white porcelain piece. We would have loved to take a picture of that lettering and send it to you, Abby. If we ever find another piece, we will. -- G.M.A., PHOENIX

"How to Be Popular" is an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person. To order, send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054. (Postage is included.)

4900 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64112; (816) 932-6600