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Ask Dr. Gott 1/16

Early cancer detection a lifesaver

DEAR DR. GOTT: I read your article in the paper about what an indention in the breast could mean. I knew I had an indention but did not realize that it could be cancer. When I read it, I still did not want to panic. After a few weeks, I finally called my doctor and made an appointment with her. In the meantime, I spoke with a friend who had breast cancer about a year ago. She gave me the name and phone number of her doctor.
    When my doctor asked me why I had come to see her, I told her I was concerned about my breast. She examined me and asked if I had found anything. I told her only thickness in the breast and that indention. She graciously called my friend's doctor and set up an appointment. He took a biopsy, and it was cancer. He scheduled me for surgery the following week. All the cancer was removed and, thankfully, we caught it in time because it had not spread to the lymph nodes. I did not have radiation but did take chemotherapy.
    I have had mammograms for years, and the last one before the cancer diagnosis was just four months before! I just wanted to thank you for the columns you write in the paper. I always read them every time we get the paper. Keep up the good work. I believe you helped save my life by printing that article and insisting readers with breast indentions be seen by their physicians. Thank you.
    DEAR READER: Thank you for the compliment.
    I am delighted that I could help you. This gives me the opportunity to say that mammograms are not 100 percent accurate. Every woman should also be seen regularly by her gynecologist and perform monthly self breast exams. In addition, tender or indented breast lesions (inflammatory breast disease) should be biopsied.

    DEAR DR. GOTT: I read your column about the 66-year-old woman with sudden bowel movements. She mentioned that one time it was after eating salad in a restaurant. I believe she may have a sensitivity to sulfides. It is cumulative.
    Sulfides are used in a product that restaurants use to rinse their greens. If the person who mixes it doesn't dilute it properly or if the customer has a sensitivity to this product, there will be a sudden trip to the bathroom! Sulfides are also found in clam chowder and other canned products. (Read the labels.)
    I speak from experience, as I had this problem many years ago, and it was very, very embarrassing until someone told me about this. Fortunately, I live in California, where a few years ago, the product was outlawed, as some people have had severe breathing problems after consuming sulfides. Salad bars are dangerous for those allergic/sensitive to sulfides.
    DEAR READER: After eating a delicious salad in a restaurant last week, I suffered from sudden, severe diarrhea. I couldn't imagine what had happened — until I read your letter. I have subsequently eaten out, avoided salad and have had no trouble. Thanks for writing.

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