DEAR DR. ROACH: My father died two years ago at age 73. For about six months, he had been experiencing excruciating back pain, which surgery didn’t help. A few years earlier, he had been treated for bladder cancer. He was due to have a follow-up appointment with his cancer specialist but didn’t because he was overwhelmed with the back pain and didn’t want to think about cancer, too. Well, eventually he ended up in the hospital, and it was found that cancer had spread throughout his body. He died a month later.

My question is whether his back pain was a symptom of the cancer. Should back specialists be alert to the possibility of cancer if their standard treatments don’t work? Should people with severe back pain be proactive and ask for further tests?

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When Dan Case leaves work as a quality engineer at Northrup-Grumman he goes to his home in Melbourne, Florida, where he enjoys his hobby of rebuilding and restoring antique automobiles.

Q: I have an Uncle Allen in DeKalb, Illinois, in his early 90s, who reads your column in the Chicago Tribune. The unknown benefit of your column is that Allen not only reads the articles, but he cuts them out and sends them to me. We have a standing call every Wednesday night and many times …

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 24-year-old woman. My mother had ductal carcinoma in situ in her mid-40s, successfully treated with surgery and radiation. One of my paternal aunts survived a malignant breast cancer. Am I considered high risk for breast cancer? I know my mom’s cancer increases my risk…

HAPPY BIRTHDAY for Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022 — You have an amazing ability to learn something quickly. You are adventurous and ever optimistic. You admire your loved ones. You are freedom-loving and you know how to inspire others. This year is a year of learning and teaching for you. Welcome t…

If you’re a fan of Volkswagen hatchbacks, no doubt you’re saddened that Volkswagen is no longer bringing the normally aspirated Golf to the United States; it’s now only available as the pricier, sportier GTI.

“The chief danger in life is that you may take too many precautions.”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY for Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022 — You are energetic, bold and courageous. You are also warmhearted and generous to loved ones. (You form strong connections with those who are close to you.) This year will be more lighthearted and sociable. You will be helpful to others. You also …

Dear Savvy Senior, Can you provide any tips on how to write an obituary? My dad, who has terminal cancer, has asked me to write his obituary, which will be published in the funeral program and run in our local newspaper. Not a Writer

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have a question in terms of people who are addicted to smoking cigarettes. How come there aren’t any rehabs for people addicted to cigarettes? I heard trying to quit smoking is much harder and more difficult than quitting heroin. Any ideas? — C.A.M.

DEAR DR. ROACH: I’ve been taking levothyroxine for 30 years. I take my daily dosage at about 4 a.m. and eat breakfast at 6:30, more or less. I usually have the same breakfast: rolled oats with some flax meal, blueberries, pea milk and half a banana. I just read an article in the newspaper th…

HAPPY BIRTHDAY for Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022 — You are intelligent. You are also an idealist who is funny and entertaining. Others frequently ask you for advice. This year will hold exciting changes for you and be more about your personal freedom. You will explore new directions and encounter n…

Q. My daughter is 13. Her father has remarried a woman who has two boys, ages 14 and 16. Both adults work and once the kids get off school, all three are left alone in the home until the adults return. I do not believe teens of the opposite sex should be left alone unsupervised. I’m concerne…

“Success is sometimes the outcome of a whole string of failures.”

The following are Monday’s television listings for the local PBS stations:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY for Monday, Jan. 24, 2022 — You are relaxed, fun-loving and easygoing. You have a sophisticated style and are often known for doing something unusual or breaking the mold. This year you will work hard for what you want. You will focus on building structures, both external and …

DEAR DR. ROACH: Is COVID-19 infection a cause of heart block? I recently had a complete heart block, tested positive in the ER for COVID-19 (symptomless and post-vaccine), and was fitted with a permanent pacemaker. I’m 63, female, in good health except for a luckily nonsevere, 10-year diagno…

Q: I recently tried toilet training my 32-month-old, but after a few days of no success, I decided to stop. A friend tells me to hang in there, but my pediatrician says my son isn’t ready. She suggests I try again in a few months. Your thoughts?

HAPPY BIRTHDAY for Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022 — You are free-spirited and full of original ideas. You stand up for your beliefs and will often fight for the underdog. You are modern-thinking, multitalented, kind and generous. This year will be slower paced and gentler with a stronger focus on r…

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Friday, Jan. 21, 2022 — You are friendly and sociable. People are drawn to your sincerity. You are fun-loving and generous and attracted to humanitarian causes. This year is the first year of a nine-year cycle for you, which means you can open any door to explore new avenues. …

“If you can’t see anything beautiful about yourself, get a better mirror.”

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a healthy 79-year-old female who recently underwent a right total knee arthroplasty. In a routine post-operative X-ray there was indication of early osteopenia in my long bones. I live in Montana and walk regularly during the summer months, but during winter it is more d…

With the goal in mind of getting a higher education, virtually every young student who sets off for college wants to get there in a snazzy set of wheels. Scott Gibson is no exception.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY for Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022 — You are conscientious, capable and reliable. People like to know they can count on you. They also love your sense of humor. This year is the last year of a nine-year cycle, which means you are wrapping up things and letting go of what is no longer…

Q: The anti-lock brakes on my 2003 Camry activate on an intermittent, but fairly frequent basis. They sometimes pulsate when slowing to a stop on dry pavement. It happens right before stopping, never when going the speed limit. The Toyota dealer mechanic test drove it, and of course, it did …