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