DEAR ABBY: People want to stay healthy at any age. In order to accomplish that, they need the most current information on how to prevent disease. They also need a practical tool to help them when they talk to their doctors.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), has developed screening test checklists for women and men, which include the most recent recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. They describe which tests you need, when and why.
"Women: Stay Healthy at Any Age, A Checklist for Your Next Checkup" lists screening tests such as mammograms, Pap smears, colorectal cancer and depression, and pointers on eating a healthy diet and quitting smoking.
"Men: Stay Healthy at Any Age, A Checklist for Your Next Checkup" contains a similar checklist, including prostate cancer screening, STDs, cholesterol checks, blood pressure and an immunization schedule.
I hope you will pass the word along to your readers, Abby. -- TOMMY G. THOMPSON, SECRETARY, HHS
DEAR SECRETARY THOMPSON: Thank you for a helpful letter. Effective medical care consists not only of curing illness, but also in giving people the necessary tools to prevent disease.
Dear Abby readers can request these free, pocket-size booklets in English or Spanish by calling the AHRQ publications clearinghouse toll-free: (800) 358-9295, or sending an e-mail: email@example.com. To download these prevention and wellness booklets -- and many others -- visit the Web site: www.ahrq.gov/consumer.
DEAR ABBY: I am home for the summer after my freshman year at college and need some advice about my mother's behavior.
Before I left, I thought Mom and I had a normal mother/daughter relationship. However, the whole time I was away at school, not once did she ever call, write or e-mail me. (My father did stay in close contact.)
Now that I'm home, Mother gets annoyed by everything I do and say. Five days ago, I became so stressed about my summer job and things going on in my personal life that I started to cry. Mom marched into my room and screamed at me to "stop bawling!"
I screamed back, telling her to leave me alone. She continued to yell at me, saying I don't appreciate all she's done for me. Nothing could be further from the truth! I have always been grateful to both of my parents and have worked hard to make them proud of me.
Then Mom floored me by saying she "didn't need me around" and "didn't want me anymore." I ran out of my room sobbing and we haven't spoken since. She occupies herself with her girlfriends and her women's club.
Abby, my poor father feels caught in the middle. Can you please help me sort out what to do? -- SAD AND DESPERATE IN VERMONT
DEAR SAD AND DESPERATE: Have a frank talk with your father about your mother and find out what has caused her change of behavior. You are an adult, and you have the right to know. It appears that she is overwhelmed, stressed and angry about something -- and it may have nothing to do with you. Since there appears to be a major communication problem right now, ask your father to schedule some appointments so the three of you can talk this out in family counseling. If your mother refuses to go, you and your father should go without her.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600