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Ask Dr. Gott 11/29
Hysterectomy needs follow-up
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    DEAR DR. GOTT: I am 45 years old and had a hysterectomy three weeks ago. No cancer was found in my ovaries, but they were removed because I am anemic and have low blood formation. The uterine test came back positive for cancer, and the organ was removed. I was told no follow-up was necessary. Do you feel I need a second opinion?
    DEAR READER: Without a doubt. At the very least, you need testing to identify any abnormal growths stemming from your uterine cancer. Also, you need regular follow-ups.
    Ask your primary care physician to refer you to an oncologist (cancer specialist) for further testing and advice.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Vaginal Cancer and Disorders." Other readers who would like a copy should send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope and $2 to Newsletter, PO Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title.

    DEAR DR. GOTT: I have read in your column that taking Benadryl PM as a sleep aid is not safe.
I use Benadryl every night with only dry mouth as a side effect. Do these antihistamines block acetylcholine, a brain chemical crucial to memory, learning and concentration that can lead to Alzheimer's disease? Is there another sleep aid that is safer?
    DEAR READER: Benadryl is not always safe, and medical experts argue against its use as a sleep aid. However, many patients accept the rare side effects of Benadryl. The drug does not lead to Alzheimer's disease, but memory loss can be an occasional consequence of extended use.
    The brain produces a naturally occurring chemical known as melatonin, responsible for causing sleep during the night or in darkness. When the eyes — even though they may be closed — make contact with light, the brain stops the production of melatonin, and we awaken. This is why I recommend turning off lights and televisions when attempting to sleep. This product is available over the counter and simply jumpstarts melatonin production in the brain. It is probably one of the safest sleep aids available. Speak to your doctor to determine whether this product is right for you.

    DEAR DR. GOTT: Having fair skin and being among the elderly, I have experienced dry spots that fail to heal, even after several months. My parents retired to Florida and have repeated treatments to prevent skin cancer. I am concerned I could have the same fate.
    However, I discovered (after cleaning with a strong solution of bleach water and not wearing gloves) a spot that I'd had for about two years disappeared. Since then, any time I discover a dry spot, I dab it with pure bleach, and usually after just two or three applications, it heals. There is no scar or evidence it was ever there. Sometimes the process burns a little, but it isn't that uncomfortable. It appears the bleach eats away the unwanted dry tissue and does not affect healthy skin.
    Do you see any harm in this solution to my problem, other than denying the skin a doctor's visit?
    DEAR READER: You appear to have hit upon a cure for a very common skin condition. Continue the bleach therapy as needed.
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