October, 2010

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Ta-Dah! Please Check Out My Gorgeous New Website

Friday, October 29th, 2010

In preparation for the launch of my new memoir, Something To Prove, my website, DoctorThornton.com, was given a complete makeover. I have to say, I’m thrilled with the results, and hope you’ll like it too.

Here, you can find TV and radio interviews I’ve done with “Good Morning America,” “C-Span,” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”  Find out where I’ll be appearing to talk about and sign copies of Something to Prove.  You can even hear a performance of The Thornton Sisters, the all-girl family band (that’s me on the alto saxophone) that helped my sisters and me pay for college, medical school and beyond. The song, “Watch Your Step” was written by my older sister, Jeanette.  My younger sister, Linda, was lead vocalist (she is now a prosthodontic oral surgeon; back then, she was our drummer) and I am the soprano in the background vocals.

Browse through my photo gallery and then drop me a note on the Doctor Thornton contact page. I’m always happy to hear from you.

Please check back often as I expect to have plenty of new events to tell you about, right before Something to Prove’s publication and then, on an ongoing basis. And, of course, I’ll keep you updated here on the blog, as well.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH

I’m a Cover Girl!

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

I’m delighted to say that Color magazine is running a lengthy profile about me that mentions The Ditchdigger’s Daughters, and gives a taste of my new memoir, Something To Prove, in this month’s issue. The magazine’s cover also features a photograph of me in my surgical scrubs – you just can’t get better coverage than that.

But what I like best is the article, written by Bridgit Brown. Ms. Brown reviewed an advance copy of Something to Prove, and later interviewed me, and I’m happy to report that her story got to the essence of what I am trying to share.

Please check it out – and let me know what you think.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH

Condoleeza Rice and Me

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

It’s interesting that Condoleeza Rice’s memoir,  Extraordinary, Ordinary People, precedes Something To Prove, my own new memoir, by just a couple months (Something To Prove will be out at the end of December). Aside from the color of our skin, I wouldn’t have known that Dr. Rice and I share so much in common. But now that I’ve watched interviews with her and read articles about Extraordinary, Ordinary People, I see that she and I both owe our achievements in large part to parents who, although held back from realizing their own full potential by the racial attitudes of the day, had big dreams for their daughters:

Despite being raised in a city resistant to quality education for blacks, Rice’s parents used their meager resources to provide their only child with piano lessons at 3.

Change a couple of details (I studied a different instrument – the saxophone – and began at age 5), the above could describe my own childhood; multiplied by five daughters and five different instruments.

Condoleeza Rice’s parents had impossible dreams for their daughter of high political office. My parents had impossible dreams for me of becoming a doctor; again multiplied by five daughters .

Rice’s parents told that the way to success required her to be “twice as good” as whites. My parents so often spoke almost the identical words, that I can hear their voices as I write this.

In an interview with NPR, where she was asked about her life’s journey, Rice said this:

“I always say, you had to know John and Angelena Rice …So, this is really their story, and my life wrapped in their story.”

I’ve said very much the same about Donald and Itasker Thornton, my own amazing parents.

One gift that my parents gave me that Dr. Rice did not get from her otherwise remarkable parents is the belief that a woman’s achievement need not come at the sacrifice of marriage and family. I have two wonderful, grown children who are following in their own parents’ footsteps and a husband who I adore today as I did 36 years ago, when we first said “I do.”

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH

Three ways to lower breast cancer risk

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

The conventional wisdom has been that, if you have a genetic predisposition to breast cancer, lifestyle changes, that might benefit other women, won’t help you. Your genes rule, so the thinking has gone until now, and there isn’t much you can do about it.

Now, I’m happy to report, new research in the journal Breast Cancer Research suggests that you don’t have to be a hostage to your genes. The study,  by researcher Dr. Robert Gramling of the University of Rochester in New York, followed approximately 85,000 post-menopausal women for more than five years. And while it was true that women with a family history of breast cancer were at greater risk to get the disease, he discovered something very promising. Women who:

  • exercised moderately (20 minutes per day for five days a week);
  • maintained normal body weight;
  • and drank no more than one alcoholic beverage per day

… lowered their risk of breast cancer. Yes, even those who had a family history of the disease.

Among those with a family history who followed the above guidelines and developed breast cancer, the rate was six in one thousand, compared to seven in one thousand among those who failed to follow the guidelines.

As I’ve been telling my patients and readers for years, there are so many benefits to maintaining a healthy weight. This study adds one more.

For your own health and the sake of those who love you, take good care of your body and it should take care of you for a very long time.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH