Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Marian Shields Robinson

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Marian Shields Robinson

Women’s News: Black women rally against voter ID laws

Women’s News: Black women rally against voter ID laws

Women’s Health: Should You Get Screened for Ovarian Cancer?

Women’s Health: Should You Get Screened for Ovarian Cancer?

A Message From The Creator

A Message From The Creator

A Message From The Creator

Women’s Health: Should You Get Screened for Ovarian Cancer?

A new recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent group of national experts, says that most women should not get routinely screened for the fifth-leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women: ovarian cancer.

Why? It turns out that regular screenings do not reduce the number of deaths from ovarian cancer in the general population, and can actually do more harm than good, according to the findings of a 13-year study which followed 78,216 women, half of whom were screened annually.

Although the task force made the same recommendation in 2004, many women are still screened on an annual basis, hoping that it will catch ovarian cancer early on and potentially save their lives. After all, the American Cancer Society estimates about 15,500 women will die of ovarian cancer this year.

“Too many women are dying needlessly from ovarian cancer,” says radiologist Margaret Cuomo, MD, author of the new book A World Without Cancer and sister of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. So how can you take preventative measures in light of the new recommendations? Here, Cuomo weighs in:

Why don’t regular ovarian cancer screenings reduce the number of related deaths? 
Currently, the screening methods for ovarian cancer include a blood test called CA-125 and transvaginal ultrasounds. And they are far from perfect, says Cuomo. Low-risk women who regularly undergo blood tests and transvaginal ultrasounds generally aren’t diagnosed any earlier than are women who are not screened annually. About 72% of the cancers that are found through annual screenings are already in the late stage of diagnosis, according to the study. False negatives are to blame. “There’s such an urgency for finding that biomarker, that test that will detect ovarian cancer in its earliest stages,” says Cuomo.

What harm could screening do?
It turns out a lot–particularly if your test delivers false-positive results. In the study, about 10 percent of the women who were screened experienced false-positive results, leading a third of those women to undergo unnecessary surgery. Moreover, 15 percent of them experienced at least one serious complication from that surgery. According to Cuomo, blood tests can deliver false-positive results in pregnant women or those with uterine fibroids, polycystic ovary syndrome, or tuberculosis, while transvaginal ultrasounds can return false positives for benign cysts.

Is there anyone who should be regularly screened? 
Yes, but only if you’re at high risk. “The tests aren’t perfect, but they are all we have right now,” says Cuomo. “If you are at high risk for ovarian cancer you should use whatever is available to you.” Also, ask your doctor about screening if you experience any symptoms of ovarian cancer, such as irregular vaginal bleeding, persistent urinary or bowel problems, or continued bloating, pelvic, and back pain.

What factors put a woman at high risk for developing ovarian cancer?
Your family history of ovarian cancer—and breast cancer—can greatly influence your ovarian cancer risk. That’s because both cancers can develop from BRCA1 and BRCA2 hereditary gene mutations. (Genetic testing can determine if you have these mutations.) While you can’t change your genes, eating a healthy diet can decrease your risk of ovarian cancer, says Cuomo. Because the chance of developing (and dying) from ovarian cancer is higher in obese women, exercise could also contribute to a reduced risk. Also, as oral contraception use and pregnancy correlate with a lower risk, some experts believe that ovulation could contribute to the development of ovarian cancer.

Women’s News: Black women rally against voter ID laws


Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Deidra Reese isn’t waiting for people to come to her to find out whether they are registered to vote.

With iPad in hand, Reese is going to community centers, homes and churches in nine Ohio cities, looking up registrations to make sure voters have proper ID and everything else they need to cast ballots on Election Day.

‘‘We are not going to give back one single inch. We have fought too long and too hard,’’ said Reese, 45, coordinator of the Columbus-based Ohio Unity Coalition, an affiliate of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation.

Reese is part of a cadre of black women engaged in a revived wave of voting rights advocacy four years after the historic election of the nation’s first black president. Provoked by voting law changes in various states, they have decided to help voters navigate the system — a fitting role, they say, given that black women had the highest turnout of any group of voters in 2008.

‘‘We’ve forgotten our mothers went to three jobs, picked us up from school, put the macaroni and cheese on the table, got up and got somebody registered to vote,’’ said actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, one of several women who participated in a strategy session this week during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s annual legislative conference in the nation’s capital. Ralph is married to Pennsylvania state Sen. Vincent Hughes.

The political and financial power of black women is one of the themes of this year’s four-day event. It will culminate Saturday with a keynote speech from one of the most visible black women in America, first lady Michelle Obama.

‘‘It’s time for us to lead the way because we voted in greater numbers than any other gender and race group last election, and we got to do the same this year,’’ said Elsie Scott, president and CEO of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

Turnout among women of all races is generally higher than for men. In 2008, about 69 percent of eligible black female voters went to the polls, an increase of 5.1 percentage points over 2004, according to a study of census data on 2008 voters by the Pew Hispanic Center. That compares with 66.1 percent of white women.

African-American women, who number about 20 million in the U.S., have long been the largest group of Democratic voters in the country, said David Bositis, senior research associate with the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

In a room at the Washington Convention Center on Wednesday, the sense of urgency among the women was palpable. They noted that voter registrationdeadlines in some states are as early as Oct. 6, the last of them on Oct. 16. Few attendees accepted the argument that the new voting laws were intended to fight fraud, as supporters of those laws maintain.

Judith Browne-Dianis, co-director of The Advancement Project, said black women showed in 2008 they can turn out in record numbers. But in 2010, ‘‘we sat home and while we were sitting at home, there were others that were plotting and what they decided to do was to change the rules of the game.’’

The women invoke the name of abolitionist and women’s suffragist Sojourner Truth, and repeat civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer’s famous line — ‘‘I am sick and tired of being sick and tired’’ — as a rallying cry. They talk strategy about checking to see who’s been purged from voter rolls or locating documents that voters need to get photo identification. All along, they remind voters of the time, before the Voting Rights Act of 1965 became law, when black people were kept from voting.

Barbara Arnwine, executive director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said a voter hotline set up by several groups already gets a thousand calls a day. Callers are typically people who don’t know if they can vote, whether their felony conviction keeps them from voting or what ID is required in their state, if at all.

Her organization has created a computer app that allows people to verify their registration status, get help registering online, learn about voting requirements in their state, find polling places and receive other assistance.


Online: National Coalition on Black Civic Participation:

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Marian Shields Robinson

Marian Shields Robinson is the mother of First Lady Michelle Obama. She lives in the White House, only the third “First Grandmother” to do so. The other two were the mothers of Bess Truman and Mamie Eisenhower.

Family Life
In 1960 Marian Shields married Fraser Robinson. A son, Craig Robinson, now Oregon State basketball coach, was born in 1962. Michelle Robinson was born in 1964. Marian stayed athome when her children were small and worked as a secretary in later years. Her husband died in 1991.

When her son-in-law Barack Obama decided to run for President, Marian Robinson quit her job in order to help out with her granddaughters, Sasha and Malia. After the election, she was said to be reluctant to leave her home and friends in Chicago to move to Washington, D.C., but has reportedly adjusted well. One of her duties is delivering Sasha and Malia to school each day. She makes some official appearances with the First Family but also goes out on her own. She protects her privacy and has given only one interview, with Essence magazine, since her move to Washington.

Marian Robinson is also grandmother to her son Craig’s three children.

Other Interests
Robinson is said to have kept her down-to-earth nature. She does her own laundry and shopping. She still sees her Chicago friends, with whom she makes occasional trips to Las Vegas. She supports her daughter’s initiatives to promote reading and to combat obesity in children. She’s an especially good spokesperson for the Lets Move! initiative since she’s a longtime yoga enthusiast.

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