Today's Consumer: News you can use

By DENNIS DAILY, United Press International  |  March 10, 2003 at 1:30 AM
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The recent death of the much-loved TV children's host Fred Rogers has brought new attention to gastric cancers. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, in the wake of Rogers' death, has produced a series of health-related articles.

The publication's Anita Srikameswaran says gastric tumors like the one that killed Rogers are not typically discovered until it's too late to stem the spread of the cancer.

Unfortunately, symptoms associated with stomach cancer -- loss of weight, heartburn, nausea and vomiting, bloating and appetite change -- can also be indicators of myriad other problems.

Many of the symptoms are treated by sufferers using over-the-counter medications until the pain or problem becomes too much to bear and the person goes to the doctor. Often the diagnosis is painful to accept.

The lesson learned from Rogers' death is the need for frequent consultations with doctors, even when minor bodily changes occur. Rogers was first diagnosed with stomach cancer in December. He underwent surgery Jan. 6, but the cancer had spread. At that point there is little to do but send the patient home to live out his final days.


One of the newest changes in the security procedures at airports involves the pre-printing or issuance of a security document. As the rules continue to change and grow at airport security scanning checkpoints so does the confusion -- particularly for those who have not flown since the holidays.

For a time you had to show proof of purchase of an electronic ticket or a paper ticket to get through the screening process. Now you have to have a new document, a security statement that you either get at the ticket counter or print yourself with your home computer.

Looking at the process as required by Southwest Airlines, we find the so-called security pass still only gets you through the scanning process. It is not a full-fledged boarding pass. Southwest lets you go online to get the pass as early as 6 a.m. the day before your flight. You use your reservation's alpha-numeric code to access and print the pass.

People without computer access or a printer can go to a special kiosk at many airports or to the ticket counter. This becomes a hassle, though, if you want to go directly to the gate and have no checked luggage.

If you are on a multi-legged itinerary, roundtrip, excursion, etc., you will need to repeat the process before each flight.

If you have not flown in a while, contact your travel agent or call the airline and make sure you have all the papers necessary to get to your gate.

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