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Dear Abby: Earlier this year, my sister “Kathy” was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent a double mastectomy, chemo and radiation, and will begin reconstructive surgery soon.

Because of her diagnosis she encouraged me to visit my doctor for an exam. When I did, they found a lump, which needs further testing. I have chosen not to share this with my family because my sisters and parents have been deeply affected by Kathy’s diagnosis, and I don’t want to cause them needless worry.

My husband is angry and he said that because Kathy is their favorite they wouldn’t be concerned anyway. I thought it was insensitive and cruel to me, but more to the point, I felt he wasn’t thinking about how upset my doing so might make my family. Am I wrong to feel this way?

– Needs Further Testing

Dear Needs Further Testing: Certainly not. Your husband’s comment illustrates the importance of keeping one’s mouth firmly shut if one can’t think of something helpful or supportive to say.

I can’t blame you for not wanting to upset your already stressed family at this point, but if more testing confirms that you, too, have breast cancer, I think it’s important that you let them know – especially your sisters, who might want to be screened sooner than later.

Time to forgive yourself

Dear Abby: About 15 years ago I committed a crime against a woman I cared about. I have felt guilt and remorse about it ever since. I can’t speak to her or have any contact with her. I would like to tell her I’m sorry for what happened. I have beaten myself up over this and thought about suicide. What do I do?

– So Sorry in St. Joseph, Mo.

Dear So Sorry: The first thing you must do is talk with a mental health professional about your suicidal thoughts. Once you have been stabilized, you should then understand that you may have been forbidden to contact your former friend because what you did was so traumatic that it could cause her to relive the incident, which could further victimize her. If you’re looking for forgiveness, forgive YOURSELF and move on – but leave her out of it.