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Gemini Special Health Edition

Gemini T h e r e A r e Tw o S i d e s To E v e r y C u r v e

Editorial Director

Beauty Editor

Fashion Editor

Health & Lifestyles Editor



On The Cover We had a blast shooting with Chyna for the cover of our special health edition. The make-up was done flawlessly, the photographer took over 200 pictures, and Chyna gave fierce body for every shot.

Note Health plays a big part in the journey of life. For years, women have died due to lack of care and knowledge. Today we do not have that excuse. Information travels from all corners of the globe in the speed of a mouse click. Extraordinary research is being done to save lives, and news is breaking every minute of the day to keep us in the loop. Today, we have no excuses...the knowledge is there for the taking. For the month of October, Gemini decided to give the women of the world the information they need in one special issue. We are encouraging all of you to read and re-read this issue, print it out, carry it with you, and share it with others. Knowledge can and will save your life.


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Symptoms of Depression P F I F L F


We fight for pink...

We take breast cancer seriously, and that is why we teamed up with plus designer Kawana Dicks to create this Gemini Magazine tee. For every shirt purchased, we will donate a portion of the proceeds to the Tiger Lily Foundation, a breast cancer awareness organization. Visit to order yours today!

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The Top Five

Causes of Death for Women in the United States


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As we grow older, we no longer have the excuse of our youthful nature to fall back on when it comes to the negligence of our health. With every year that goes by, we become more susceptible to disease and illness depending upon how sufficient we are with the upkeep of our “temples”. Just as the age old saying goes, “Health is Wealth.” So while we have the luxury of rocking our beautiful curves, we must always remember to be mindful of the potential health issues that lurk around every corner. The top 5 health risks affecting women like you and me are all either preventable or detectable, but only if you choose to practice the 3 AAA's; be Aware, take Action, and stay Alert. The diagnosis of Heart Disease, Cancer, Stroke, Emphysema and Diabetes all have the potential to either claim a life or pause one temporarily. It all depends on how Aware we are of our susceptibility and to the fact that these issues don not have a single target and could easily claim our lives if we're not paying attention. According to The Centers for Disease Control, women are dying from the top five diseases at a higher rate than men. Death is something that we have zero control over since we are all going to leave this earth at some point. But, how long we live is heavily influenced by how we live our lives. Understanding these possible health threats, and having knowledge of their existence will enable us to take the necessary Action. Knowing is half the battle.

"How long we live is heavily influenced by how we live our lives." It is time to do whatever necessary to circumvent the illnesses that are within our control. Maintaining a healthy diet and getting enough exercise, doing self-breast exams, being mindful of the risks in either drinking or smoking and many are some of the ways we can prevent a problem later on. It is truly about acting in a sensible way that is conducive to guarding our health. Yet as we all know, sometimes these ailments are an inevitable part of life no matter how healthy we have been or in shape we are. Being Aware of the risks and making a conscious decision to take Action to be more health conscious is the where you start. Even still, you have to be Alert to the messages your body sends. Paying attention to potential warning signs can mean the difference between early detection and death. Staying on top of routine exams and remembering to schedule yearly checkups works in unison with being Aware and taking Action. Ladies, you pay a low cost for prevention, but a high price for lack of knowledge and negligence. If you invest in your health today, a richer life will be waiting for you.

Taking Care Down There About 11,070 women will find out they have cervical cancer, and an estimated 3,870 women will die from cervical cancer.

One day, we are not sure when, but one day we lost touch with our vaginas--or va-jay-jay as Oprah affectionately calls it. No matter what name we give it, we have seemingly forgotten how to speak her language. We have become accustomed to hating the yearly visit to the gyn, so slowly but surely one missed visit turns into five--maybe ten. But what if we told you that one little visit to the va-jay-jay doc could literally save your life?

During the month of September, one of the most popular daytime dramas grabbed a storyline from millions of women in the real world. Lily, a young, vibrant 22 year old African American female character on the Young and the Restless was given terrifying news. She had cervical cancer. What began as a false positive pregnancy test ended with surgeries and chemotherapy. For many of the women watching this particular drama unfold, Lily's fight with cancer is all too real.

THE WHAT OF CERVICAL CANCER What is cervical cancer? We hear about cervical cancer in bits and pieces, mostly through the recent awareness campaigns or HPV (Human Papillomavirus) vaccination commercials, but do we really have a full understanding of the disease and what it is capable of doing? Cervical cancer begins in the cervix, but left untreated it can spread throughout the body. The lower part of the uterus is the cervix, which connects the uterus and vagina. The ectocervix is the outermost part of the cervix (closest to the vagina), and the endocervix is the inner most part (closest to the uterus). Most cervical cancers begin in the transformation zone where the ectocervix and endocervix meet. What are the different types of cervical cancer ? There are two types of cervical cancer, squamous cell Carcinoma and Andenocarcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma is cancer of the cells called squamous epithelial cells that line the outer part of the cervix. Andenocarcinoma is cancer of the columnar epithelial cells which line the inner part of the cervix.

What are the symptoms of cervical cancer? Typically, there are no symptoms. Most symptoms occur when the cells become cancerous and invade the deepest parts of the cervix or other organs in the pelvic region. Women who have fully developed cervical cancer can share these common symptoms however, these symptoms can mean many other things as well. It is always important for a woman to seek professional, medical help if she is experiencing any of the following: Vaginal discharge Abnormal vaginal bleeding Vaginal odor Pain

THE FACE OF CERVICAL CANCER Who is affected by cervical cancer? Cervical cancer can affect a multitude of women, however, there are certain risk factors and groups that are affected more so than others. Incidences of cervical cancer are disproportionately higher in Hispanic and African American women than in any other ethnic group. Women between the ages of 35 and 55 are also most commonly affected. Who is at risk? As with many diseases, there are risk factors involved. While nothing is fool proof, taking certain preventative measures may improve a woman's chances of steering clear of cervical cancer. Smoking, HPV, weakened immune systems, family/personal medical history, certain sexually transmitted diseases, diet, oral contraceptives, multiple pregnancies, certain drugs, and social status are all risk factors associated with cervical cancer.

THE HOW OF CERVICAL CANCER How is cervical cancer prevented? Much of the prevention lies squarely on the woman. By carefully taking care to lower controlled risk factors, and getting routine pap tests, cervical cancer is one of the cancers that is totally preventable. Some medical experts also recommend a vaccination that is available to prevent some of the most common types of HPV. How is cervical cancer treated? More often than not, cervical cancer is treated with surgery, especially if the cancer that has not spread. This is called a local treatment, which only fights cancer cells in one area. Another type of treatment is called radiation therapy. Radiation therapy involves high energy x-rays. Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer, which travels through the body. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy can be combined, either before or after surgery, to treat cancer. Together through conversation and education we can prevent cervical cancer. By taking the time to keep up with the latest news and updates concerning cervical cancer, and keeping the lines of communication open with doctors and other women, we can keep our bodies healthy.

Because of the pap test becoming a routine test for women in the United States, cervical cancer makes up less than 2% of all cancers in women in the U.S., however, African American women are more than twice as likely to die from cervical cancer than caucasian women.

Risk Factors There are certain factors that can make one woman over another more likely to get cervical cancer. These factors are also known as 'risk factors'.

(A) HPV (Human Papillomavirus Infection)--

some HPV's can put women at a higher risk and these viruses are transmitted by sexual contact. "HPV infection is the major risk factor for cervical cancer." (

(B) Smoking—a woman who smokes has a higher chance of getting cervical cancer.

(C) Weak Immune Systems—women who

suffer from HIV have a greater risk of getting cervical cancer because the nature of HIV makes the immune system weaker, thus making it harder for the body to fight the HPV infection.

(D) Family/Personal History—If you, your

mother, or sister has had cervical cancer, the risk is higher than a woman without the history.

(E) Chlamydia Infection—Chlamydia is a

bacterial infection transmitted sexually that might increase your risk of developing cc.

(F) Diet-- “A diet low in fruits and vegetables, as well as obesity, may increase the risk for cervical cancer.” (

(G) Oral Contraceptives--"A woman who has

taken oral contraceptives for a long time may have a higher risk."

(H) Multiple Pregnancies—from the website above: "a woman who has had many full term pregnancies may be at greater risk."

(I) Socioeconomic Status—many women

with low income often don't have access to healthcare and this can prevent regular screenings and increase their risk. For more information about cervical cancer, please visit, or The American Cancer Society

Information found in the Mayo Clinic Health Letter, June 2009, and the American Cancer Society Cancer Facts and Figures for African Americans 2009-10. For more information, please visit the American Cancer Society at

To contact Robin E. Devonish Scott, write to: or call: (631) 456-7489

. Frequent urination . Excessive thirst . Extreme hunger . Unusual weight loss . Increased fatigue . Irritability . Blurry vision

by Latima Johnson

When *Randi was 15 she woke up one morning vomiting and in excruciating pain. She was hesitant to tell her mother because she was scared. She had been having sex since she was eleven and was afraid the sexual encounter she had the night before might be the cause of her abdominal pain. “I had no choice but to tell my mom because I was in so much pain. Up until that day she had no idea I was having sex.” Randi wound up spending a week in the hospital-diagnosisChlamydia, which went untreated for so long that she developed Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. Even after that ordeal, Randi admits that she doesn’t use protection. “I’m in a monogamous relationship and we were both tested, so I don’t use anything.” Randi confesses that she doesn’t see a gynecologist on a regular basis but when she does go she gets tested for STDs, HIV and has a PAP Smear. At 29 she has been pregnant a total of 6 times including 3 abortions, 1 ectopic pregnancy which resulted in the removal of one of her fallopian tubes and two live births. When asked if she uses abortion as a form of birth control she said no, “It depends on where I am in my life. I would never think of bringing a baby into this world if I can’t take care of it.” Randi is not alone according to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2007 there were 1,108,374 reported cases of Chlamydia in the United States which is the largest number ever reported. In addition they estimate that there are 2.8 million new cases each year half of which go undiagnosed. Chlamydia is the most commonly reported STD followed by gonorrhea and syphilis. Luckily these diseases are curable and can be cleared up with antibiotics. However, if left untreated, they can cause irreparable damage to a woman’s reproductive organs. (see “What You Should Know”).

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a general term that refers to infection of the uterus (womb), fallopian tubes (tubes that carry eggs from the ovaries to the uterus

The Big H According to the CDC if the rate of HIV infection continues at its present pace, the number of women infected with HIV will surpass those of men. Statistically, AIDS is the number three killer of women second only to cancer and heart disease. Women of color and younger women make up the bulk of reported cases of HIV and AIDS. The good news is that these diseases are preventable. Although abstinence is the surest way to prevent transmission of an STD, practicing safe sex will also prevent the spread of disease. Using latex condoms EVERY time you have sex whether it is anal, oral or vaginal will ensure that you protect you and your partner from contracting an STD. If you are in a monogamous relationship and don’t want to use protection, make sure that you and your partner are tested before you engage in sex. 22 year old *Hailey says that her and her partner don’t use protection but they have both been tested for HIV and STD’s. “We were both tested but only after we had unprotected sex.” Studies show that every time a woman has unprotected sex, she not only has sex with her partner but with his last five partners as well. If you are sexually active it is imperative that you use protection and get tested. The life you save may be your own.

What You Should Know Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, if left untreated can cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), which can lead to: Infertility Chronic Pelvic Pain Increased risk of HIV transmission Syphilis if left untreated can lead to severe complications including Brain, Cardiovascular and organ damage Blindness Death Pregnant women can pass syphilis onto the fetus, which can result in: Still births Physical deformities Neurological complications *Names have been changed to protect the privacy of the sources cited.

No one wants to see curvy women You've got fat mothers with their bags of chips sitting in front of the television and saying that thin models are ugly

Special Health Edition  

We took a look at some of the health issues troubling women today.