Dear Abby:

A little over a year ago, after reading your column about a man who had experienced testicular cancer, I was prompted to examine myself. It was something I had never thought about until that day. Not once had I ever considered the possibility that it could actually happen to me.

Sure enough, I found a large lump that sent a cold chill down my spine. My general practitioner didn't think it was anything to be concerned about. But I was still worried, so I made an appointment for a second opinion with a urologist. He had a waiting list a month long, but the morning after I consulted him I found myself in the hospital having my first surgery.

Now, one year later, after two surgeries and six weeks of chemotherapy, I am 99 percent cured and feeling great.

Thank you, Abby, for raising my awareness about this serious disease. I can't stress strongly enough the extreme importance of self-examination and early detection. Your column saved my life.

Grateful Guy in Maryland

I'm pleased that my column helped you. The American Cancer Society informs me that when testicular cancer is diagnosed early, it is highly curable. Testicular self-examinations are quick and easy, and should be performed once a month. A simple way to do it is while taking a shower. For more information, contact the American Cancer Society by calling the toll-free number 800-227- 2345 or visiting the Web site: www.cancer.org.

Dear Abby:

I am 17 and currently involved with a guy from school. The guy that I was with for a year and a half (my ex) wants to marry me. I still have feelings for him, but not like I used to.

I like my new boyfriend and don't really want to leave him. When my ex and I broke up, it was only supposed to be "a little time apart." My ex showed signs that he was moving on, so I did the same. Now that he wants to get back together, I don't know what to do. Should I go back with him and give it a chance or let him down gently?

Pulled in Two Directions

You are 17 years old and on the brink of a bright and exciting future. Why are you in such a hurry to make a permanent commitment? Since you have already "moved on," you should continue moving on. When the right man comes along, you won't need to ask anyone what to do -- you'll know.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.

(c)2004, Universal Press Syndicate