For 19 years, the Festival of the Trees has been the highlight of the holiday season in the Northern Neck. This three-day extravaganza will be held November 30-December 2 at the Northern Neck Family YMCA. With more than 500 patrons attending the three-day long affair, this is the Northern Neck Family YMCA’s largest fundraising event of the year. The Festival of the Trees inspires attendees to “deck their homes” with unique holiday decorating and gift-giving ideas. The community’s generosity during this event ensures the vitality of our Guardian Program. This important program helps the Y fulfill its mission to provide a wide range of programs and activities for children and families within our local community who could not otherwise afford them.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:
COMMUNITY OPEN HOUSE & SILENT AUCTION KICKOFF
Thursday, November 30, 6-8pm
Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Festival of the Trees with refreshments and entertainment! Santa will be here, straight from the North Pole and photos with him are available courtesy of Yours Truly Photography. Special children’s performances include Linda’s School and Dance and Chesapeake Academy! All attendees are invited to enter a drawing to win four tickets to Christmas Town, Busch Gardens! This event is free and open to the public.
Friday, December 1, 10am-6pm
Come walk through a winter wonderland and preview our silent auction. Our silent auction will close Saturday evening December 2, winners do not have to be present to win. All bidding is online and accessible through your mobile phone or PC. This open house is free and open to the public.
GALA & AUCTION FINALE
Saturday, December 2, 7-10pm
Featuring “Tastes of the Northern Neck” presenting delicacies from local chefs paired with a selection of fine wines, champagne, and ales. Join the fun by raising your paddle and bidding on our live auction items. Experience the excitement as our Silent Auction ends.
Gala Tickets are $50 per person. Don’t delay, tickets are very limited. Sales prior to November 30 receive a $50 gift certificate from Burkes Fine Jewelers, one per household.
KIDS NIGHT OUT
Saturday, December 2, 6:30-10pm
A special offer for ticket-holders of the Gala, Kids Night Out! Children ages 6 months to12 years old can have an exciting night at the Y too, for no additional cost. This fun evening takes place at our child care center and includes holiday crafts, swimming, dinner and a movie. Please RSVP by November 22 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
ONLINE SILENT AUCTION
Friday, November 24, 12:00am
Preview and bid on our silent auction items, starting Black Friday November 24! The direct link to the auction will be posted on this page.
For questions, or more event information, call 804.435.0223, or email email@example.com.
NEED HELP MANAGING YOUR TYPE 2 DIABETES?
HERE ARE SOME TIPS
- Get your doctor’s OK. Let them know what you want to do. They can make sure you’re ready for it. They’ll also check to see if you need to change your meals, insulin, or diabetes medicines. Your doctor can also let you know if the time of day you exercise matters.
- Check your blood sugar. Ask your doctor if you should check it before exercise. If you plan to work out for more than an hour, check your blood sugar levels regularly during your workout, so you’ll know if you need a snack. Check your blood sugar after every workout, so that you can adjust if needed.
- Carry carbs. Always keep a small carbohydrate snack, like fruit or a fruit drink, on hand in case your blood sugar gets low.
- Ease into it. If you’re not active now, start with 10 minutes of exercise at a time. Gradually work up to 30 minutes a day.
- Strength train at least twice a week. It can improve blood sugar control. You can lift weights or work with resistance bands. Or you can do moves like push-ups, lunges, and squats, which use your own body weight.
- Make it a habit. Exercise, eat, and take your medicines at the same time each day to prevent low blood sugar, also called hypoglycemia.
- Go public. Work out with someone who knows you have diabetes and knows what to do if your blood sugar gets too low. It’s more fun, too. Also wear a medical identification tag, or carry a card that says you have diabetes, just in case.
- Be good to your feet. Wear athletic shoes that are in good shape and are the right type for your activity. For instance, don’t jog in tennis shoes, because your foot needs a different type of support when you run. Check and clean your feet daily. Let your doctor know if you notice any new foot problems.
- Hydrate. Drink water before, during, and after exercise.
- Stop if something suddenly hurts. If your muscles are mildly sore, that’s normal. Sudden pain isn’t. You’re not likely to get injured unless you do too much, too soon.
To understand diabetes, you need to know what it is, what causes it, the types of diabetes, the effects of having diabetes, who is most at risk of developing diabetes, and that the YMCA can help prevent you from getting diabetes. Read on for the easy to understand answers.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy. Sometimes your body doesn’t make enough—or any—insulin or doesn’t use insulin well. Glucose then stays in your blood and doesn’t reach your cells.
Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause health problems. Although diabetes has no cure, you can take steps to manage your diabetes and stay healthy.
Sometimes people call diabetes “a touch of sugar” or “borderline diabetes.” These terms suggest that someone doesn’t really have diabetes or has a less serious case, but every case of diabetes is serious.
What health problems can people with diabetes develop?
Over time, high blood glucose leads to problems such as:
- heart disease
- kidney disease
- eye problems
- dental disease
- nerve damage
- foot problems
What are the different types of diabetes?
The most common types of diabetes are type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes
If you have type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin. Your immune system attacks and destroys the cells in your pancreas that make insulin. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can appear at any age. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to stay alive.
Type 2 diabetes
If you have type 2 diabetes, your body does not make or use insulin well. You can develop type 2 diabetes at any age, even during childhood. However, this type of diabetes occurs most often in middle-aged and older people. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes.
Gestational diabetes develops in some women when they are pregnant. Most of the time, this type of diabetes goes away after the baby is born. However, if you’ve had gestational diabetes, you have a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Sometimes diabetes diagnosed during pregnancy is actually type 2 diabetes.
Other types of diabetes
Who is more likely to develop type 2 diabetes?
You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you are age 45 or older, have a family history of diabetes, or are overweight. Physical inactivity, race, and certain health problems such as high blood pressure also affect your chance of developing type 2 diabetes. You are also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you have prediabetes or had gestational diabetes when you were pregnant. Learn more about risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
Healthy activity and exercise are known to reduce the risk of developing type 1 diabetes. The YMCA is a great place to get the healthy activity and also support to keep going. Review our questionnaire to see if you are prediabetic to discover if you could benefit from our Diabetes Prevention Program.
Your Search for the Perfect Gift Ends Here
Are you feeling the pressure to give the perfect gift this holiday season? Stop stressing. We have the solution: Give a tribute gift to honor someone who values the work we do at The Peninsula Metropolitan YMCA.
A tribute gift will make your loved one feel special because you are celebrating and supporting a cause that’s important in his or her life. It’s also an extremely easy gift to give—no need to visit a crowded shopping mall and no stressing over whether your gift is the right size or if it’ll arrive in time. An added bonus: Tribute gifts are affordable. You choose how much you can spend.
Charitable gifts are a good idea for a variety of situations. Consider the following:
- Give a gift to The Peninsula Metropolitan YMCA in memory of a loved one. A memorial gift is a meaningful way to include a special person who is no longer here in your holiday celebrations.
- Tell your friends and family members to donate to The Peninsula Metropolitan YMCA in YOUR honor. You aren’t the only one who has a hard time with holiday shopping!
To learn more about giving a gift that your loved ones will truly appreciate this holiday season, contact Danny Carroll at 757.223.7925 ext 203 or firstname.lastname@example.org today.
Celebrate the spirit of the season
The information on this website is not intended as legal or tax advice. For such advice, please consult an attorney or tax advisor. Figures cited in examples are for hypothetical purposes only and are subject to change. References to estate and income taxes include federal taxes only. State income/estate taxes or state law may impact your results.
At the YMCA, supportive community is a big part of healthy living. Download the YMCA’s new app, yConnect, and expand your journey to a healthier, more connected lifestyle. yConnect is a comprehensive digital community experience that opens up opportunities for you to live healthy, receive and give support, obtain updates, and connect with other Y members and groups. Whether you do it to keep up with your fitness goals, stay up to date on your children’s programs, or meet with one of your groups for a walk, jog, or a cup of coffee; we’ll help connect you and keep you connected within the Y’s friendly community.
As a member with yConnect, you can easily use your cell phone to:
Check in faster. Just call up the app, scan your bar-code, and enter.
Access schedules. Quickly find times for group fitness classes, the pool and the gymnasium any day of the week.
Simplify fitness tracking. Sync wearables through your Fitbit, Apple Health, and Google Fit.
Improve health. Set goals, measure milestones and view, update and track the progress of your body metrics. You can also track your nutrition intake, organize meal plans and view your food diary.
Celebrate progress. View your fitness points, badges, awards, active challenges and achievements.
Experience stronger connections in your Y Community. Read updates from your branch, take part in discussion groups, join Y fitness challenges, and integrate with your healthy living community!
Connect with a Fitness Coach. See workout plans, search example exercise videos, track completed activities and add new ones!
Visit My Y. Access your Y’s information: opening hours and available facilities.
Our App is FREE for all of our Members!
Must have valid Email on file at the Y. Members receive an activation email.
Members also have access to all features from a desktop computer.
Visit your local YMCA Welcome Center for more information.
In the past, people being treated for a chronic illness (an illness a person may live with for a long time, like cancer or diabetes) were often told by their doctor to rest and reduce their physical activity. This is good advice if movement causes pain, rapid heart rate, or shortness of breath. But newer research has shown that exercise is not only safe and possible during cancer treatment, but it can improve how well you function physically and your quality of life.
Too much rest can lead to loss of body function, muscle weakness, and reduced range of motion. So today, many cancer care teams are urging their patients to be as physically active as possible during cancer treatment. Many people are learning about the advantages of being physically active after treatment, too.
Ways regular exercise may help you during cancer treatment:
- Keep or improve your physical abilities (how well you can use your body to do things)
- Improve balance, lower risk of falls and broken bones
- Keep muscles from wasting due to inactivity
- Lower the risk of heart disease
- Lessen the risk of osteoporosis (weak bones that are more likely to break)
- Improve blood flow to your legs and lower the risk of blood clots
- Make you less dependent on others for help with normal activities of daily living
- Improve your self-esteem
- Lower the risk of being anxious and depressed
- Lessen nausea
- Improve your ability to keep social contacts
- Lessen symptoms of tiredness (fatigue)
- Help you control your weight
- Improve your quality of life
We still don’t know a lot about how exercise and physical activity affect your recovery from cancer, or their effects on the immune system. But regular moderate exercise has been found to have health benefits for the person with cancer.
Goals of an exercise program
There are many reasons for being physically active during cancer treatment, but each person’s exercise program should be based on what’s safe and what works best for them. It should also be something you like doing. Your exercise plan should take into account any exercise program you already follow, what you can do now, and any physical problems or limits you have.
Certain things affect your ability to exercise, for instance:
- The type and stage of cancer you have
- Your cancer treatment
- Your stamina (endurance), strength, and fitness level
If you exercised before treatment, you might need to exercise less than usual or at a lower intensity during treatment. The goal is to stay as active and fit as possible. People who were very sedentary (inactive) before cancer treatment may need to start with short, low-intensity activity, such as short slow walks. For older people, those with cancer that has spread to the bones or osteoporosis (bone thinning), or problems like arthritis or peripheral neuropathy (numbness in hands or feet), safety and balance are important to reduce the risk of falls and injuries. They may need a caregiver or health professional with them during exercise.
Some people can safely begin or maintain their own exercise program, but many will have better results with the help of an exercise specialist, physical therapist, or exercise physiologist. Be sure to get your doctor’s OK first, and be sure that the person working with you knows about your cancer diagnosis and any limitations you have. These specially trained professionals can help you find the type of exercise that’s right and safe for you. They can also help you figure out how often and how long you should exercise.
Whether you’re just starting exercise or continuing it, your doctor should have input on tailoring an exercise program to meet your interests and needs. Keep your cancer team informed on how you’re doing in regards to your activity level and exercise throughout your treatment.
When you are recovering from treatment
Many side effects get better within a few weeks after cancer treatment ends, but some can last much longer or even emerge later. Most people are able to slowly increase exercise time and intensity. What may be a low- or moderate-intensity activity for a healthy person may seem like a high-intensity activity for some cancer survivors. Keep in mind that moderate exercise is defined as activity that takes as much effort as a brisk walk.
When you are living disease-free or with stable disease
During this phase, physical activity is important to your overall health and quality of life. It may even help some people live longer. There’s some evidence that getting to and staying at a healthy weight, eating right, and being physically active may help reduce the risk of a second cancer as well as other serious chronic diseases. More research is needed to be sure about these possible benefits.
The American Cancer Society recommends that cancer survivors take these actions:
- Take part in regular physical activity.
- Avoid inactivity and return to normal daily activities as soon as possible after diagnosis.
- Aim to exercise at least 150 minutes per week.
- Include strength training exercises at least 2 days per week.
A growing number of studies have looked at the impact of physical activity on cancer recurrence and long-term survival. (Cancer recurrence is cancer that comes back after treatment.) Exercise has been shown to improve cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, body composition, fatigue, anxiety, depression, self-esteem, happiness, and several quality of life factors in cancer survivors. At least 20 studies of people with breast, colorectal, prostate, and ovarian cancer have suggested that physically active cancer survivors have a lower risk of cancer recurrence and improved survival compared with those who are inactive. Randomized clinical trials are still needed to better define the impact of exercise on such outcomes.
Those who are overweight or obese after treatment should limit high-calorie foods and drinks, and increase physical activity to promote weight loss. Those who have been treated for digestive or lung cancers may be underweight. They may need to increase their body weight to a healthier range, but exercise and nutrition are still important. Both groups should emphasize vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. It’s well known that obesity is linked with a higher risk of developing some cancers. It’s also linked with breast cancer recurrence, and it might be related to the recurrence of other types of cancer, too. Exercise can help you get to and stay at a healthy weight.
Always check with your doctor before starting any exercise program. This is especially important if your treatments can affect your lungs (such as the chemo drug bleomycin or radiation to the chest), your heart (such as the chemo drugs doxorubicin or epirubicin), or if you are at risk for lung or heart disease. Be sure you understand what you can and can’t do.
Your cancer care team will check your blood counts during your treatment. Ask them about your results, and if it’s OK for you to exercise.
This is an excerpt from an article on the American Cancer Society.
The Y offers emotional support and physical exercise for those with cancer and their caregivers. Learn more…
REMEMBER TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
By Sheryl M. Ness, R.N. July 2, 2015
If you’re a caregiver for a person who is going through cancer treatment, you’re probably giving your all to them as they endure it.
It’s so essential for the person living with cancer to take the time to heal their body and recover. However, if you’re the caregiver, it’s also important to take care of yourself.
Taking care of yourself includes nurturing both your mind and body. It may include reconnecting with what brings you energy, happiness and joy. The following are a few ideas to help you reconnect and start your self-care plan:
- Be grateful and appreciate what you have
- Take time every day to smile and laugh
- Enjoy 5-10 minutes to relax, breathe deeply and just be alone
- Eat well to nourish your body
- Read a good book
- Enjoy nature
- Set priorities and make a plan
- Listen to music
- Invest time and energy in things you value
- Learn about something new
- Trust yourself
- Connect with your spiritual self
- Ask for help whenever you need it
- Communicate in an open and honest way
- Get plenty of sleep
Another great source for support, information, and ideas is AARP/Caregivers.
The Y offers support for those with cancer and cancer caregivers. Learn more…
YOU AREN’T YOUR CANCER DIAGNOSIS
By Sheryl M. Ness, R.N. September 3, 2015
Having a diagnosis of cancer can take over your life. This is especially true during the intense period of initial diagnosis, treatment and immediate recovery. All of a sudden, you become defined by your diagnosis. Your life is filled with doctor’s appointments, tests, scans, treatment and check-ups. You may no longer be working, and roles may have shifted at home as well as with friends.
It’s easy to lose yourself during this time. However, you aren’t defined by your cancer. What makes you you? Find ways to reconnect with your many life accomplishments during this time. Never lose sight of the gifts that you have. Perhaps it is your ability to make others laugh, or your love of adventure, music, art, reading or photography.
As you consider what makes you happy, try to think of creative ways to keep the strong connection to doing what you love. Here are a few ideas:
- Make a short list of what defined you before you were diagnosed with cancer (mother, father, friend, runner, engineer, traveler, artist, musician, etc.)
- Go through the list and make notes next to the things that are the most important to you at the moment.
- Create a new list to keep the things that you love in your life during this time.
- Add anything new that you’d like to accomplish, including steps on how you think you might accomplish your goals.
When the Mayo Clinic teaches their Moving Forward after Cancer Treatment class, they try to encourage participants to write down a few ideas to bring back the things that are meaningful to them. This idea also gives you permission to not think of yourself as your cancer diagnosis, but who you are as a person. It’s so wonderful to see the person light up as they talk about what’s important to them.
Consider what defines you as a person. How have you reconnected with yourself during and after treatment? Try the ideas above and share your experience with other cancer survivors.
The Y offers support for those with cancer and cancer caregivers. Learn more…
HOW MUCH DO DAILY HABITS LIKE DIET AND EXERCISE AFFECT YOUR RISK FOR CANCER?
Much more than you might think. Research has shown that poor diet and not being active are 2 key factors that can increase a person’s cancer risk. The good news is that you can do something about this.
Besides quitting smoking, some of the most important things you can do to help reduce your cancer risk are:
- Get to and stay at a healthy weight throughout life
- Be physically active on a regular basis
- Make healthy food choices with a focus on plant-based foods
The evidence for this is strong: Each year, about 589,430 Americans die of cancer; around one-third of these deaths are linked to poor diet, physical inactivity, and carrying too much weight.
Control your weight.
Getting to and staying at a healthy weight is important to reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of several cancers, including those of the breast (in women past menopause), colon and rectum, endometrium (the lining of the uterus), esophagus, pancreas, and kidney, among others.
Being overweight can increase cancer risk in many ways. One of the main ways is that excess weight causes the body to produce and circulate more estrogen and insulin, hormones that can stimulate cancer growth.
What’s a healthy weight?
One of the best ways to get an idea if you are at a healthy weight is to check your Body Mass Index (BMI), a score based on the relationship between your height and weight.
To reduce cancer risk, most people need to keep their BMIs below 25. Ask your doctor what your BMI number means and what action (if any) you should take.
If you are trying to control your weight, a good first step is to watch portion sizes, especially of foods high in calories, fat, and added sugars. Also try to limit your intake of high-calorie foods and drinks. Try writing down what and how much you eat and drink for a week, then see where you can cut down on portion sizes, cut back on some not-so-healthy foods and drinks, or both!
For those who are overweight or obese, losing even a small amount of weight has health benefits and is a good place to start.
Be more active.
Watching how much you eat will help you control your weight. The other key is to be more physically active. Being active helps reduce your cancer risk by helping with weight control. It can also help improve your hormone levels and the way your immune system works.
More good news – physical activity helps you reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes, too! So grab your athletic shoes and head out the door!
The latest recommendations for adults call for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week, or an equivalent combination, preferably spread throughout the week. This is over and above usual daily activities like using the stairs instead of the elevator at your office or doing housework. For kids, the recommendation is at least 60 minutes of moderate or vigorous intensity activity each day, with vigorous intensity activity occurring at least 3 days each week.
Moderate activities are those that make you breathe as hard as you would during a brisk walk. This includes things like walking, biking, even housework and gardening. Vigorous activities make you use large muscle groups and make your heart beat faster, make you breathe faster and deeper, and also make you sweat.
It’s also important to limit sedentary behavior such as sitting, lying down, watching television, or other forms of screen-based entertainment.
Being more physically active than usual, no matter what your level of activity, can have many health benefits.
Eat healthy foods.
Eating well is an important part of improving your health and reducing your cancer risk. Take a good hard look at what you typically eat each day and try these tips to build a healthy diet plan for yourself and your family:
Choose foods and drinks in amounts that help you get to and maintain a healthy weight.
- Read food labels to become more aware of portion sizes and calories. Be aware that “low-fat” or “non-fat” does not necessarily mean “low-calorie.”
- Eat smaller portions when eating high-calorie foods.
- Choose vegetables, whole fruit, legumes such as peas and beans, and other low-calorie foods instead of calorie-dense foods such as French fries, potato and other chips, ice cream, donuts, and other sweets.
- Limit your intake of sugar-sweetened beverages such as soft drinks, sports drinks, and fruit-flavored drinks.
- When you eat away from home, be especially mindful to choose food low in calories, fat, and added sugar, and avoid eating large portion sizes.
- Limit how much processed meat and red meat you eat.
Limit your intake of processed meats such as bacon, sausage, lunch meats, and hot dogs.
- Choose fish, poultry, or beans instead of red meat (beef, pork, and lamb)
- If you eat red meat, choose lean cuts and eat smaller portions
- Prepare meat, poultry, and fish by baking, broiling, or poaching rather than by frying or charbroiling
Eat at least 2½ cups of vegetables and fruits each day.
- Include vegetables and fruits at every meal and snack
- Eat a variety of vegetables and fruits each day
- Emphasize whole fruits and vegetables; choose 100% juice if you drink vegetable or fruit juices
- Limit your use of creamy sauces, dressings, and dips with fruits and vegetables
Choose whole grains instead of refined grain products.
- Choose whole-grain breads, pasta, and cereals (such as barley and oats) instead of breads, cereals, and pasta made from refined grains, and brown rice instead of white rice.
- Limit your intake of refined carbohydrate foods, including pastries, candy, sugar-sweetened breakfast cereals, and other high-sugar foods.
If you drink alcohol, limit how much
People who drink alcohol should limit their intake to no more than 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women. The recommended limit is lower for women because of their smaller body size and slower breakdown of alcohol.
A drink of alcohol is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits (hard liquor). In terms of cancer risk, it is the amount of alcohol, not the type of alcoholic drink that is important.
These daily limits do not mean it’s safe to drink larger amounts on fewer days of the week, since this can lead to health, social, and other problems.
Reducing cancer risk in our communities
Adopting a healthier lifestyle is easier for people who live, work, play, or go to school in an environment that supports healthy behaviors. Working together, communities can create the type of environment where healthy choices are easy to make.
We all can be part of these changes: Let’s ask for healthier food choices at our workplaces and schools. For every junk food item in the vending machine, ask for a healthy option, too. Support restaurants that help you to eat well by offering options like smaller portions, lower-calorie items, and whole-grain products. And let’s help make our communities safer and more appealing places to walk, bike, and be active.
The bottom line
It has been estimated that as much as one-third of all cancer deaths in the US are related to diet and activity factors. Let’s challenge ourselves to lose some extra pounds, increase our physical activity, make healthy food choices, limit alcohol, and look for ways to make our communities healthier places to live, work, and play.
American Cancer Society
Last Medical Review: 6/30/14
Last Revised: 2/5/2015
The Y cares and supports people with critical illnesses through program like LIVESTRONG at the YMCA, a FREE 12-week physical and well-being program designed to help adult cancer patients and survivors. We are here in time of need and encourage a warm spirit of community to build companionship with others affected by cancer. The program focuses on the whole person in spirit, mind and body – not the disease.
The YMCA is here to help and is the perfect environment for living a healthier lifestyle with lots of support. We’re friendly, smart, caring, and excited to work with you on your health goals. Our certified personal trainers, group exercise instructors, and wellness center instructors can design a program for you, and suggest classes that best suit your wellness needs.
Here at the Y we have classes and programs that can help with balance, flexibility, mobility, strength, and cardiovascular endurance. Our expert wellness center instructors and personal trainers can design a personalized cardio and/or strength training program just for you. We offer a large variety of both land-based and water fitness classes* (*at selected locations) so you can find the classes that suit you best — high-intensity & high impact to low-intensity & low impact — we have classes for all fitness levels. We even have nutrition consultations at some locations.
The YMCA suggests you check with your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough to begin your exercise plan.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
What is breast cancer?
Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control. When cancer starts in the breast, it is called breast cancer. The breast is made up of three main parts: glands, ducts, and connective tissue. Sometimes breast cells become abnormal and grow faster than normal cells. These extra cells form a mass called a tumor. Some tumors are “benign,” or not cancerous. Other tumors are “malignant,” meaning they are cancerous and have the ability to spread to other parts of the breast and body and disrupt normal functions in those areas.
Who gets breast cancer?
All women are at risk for breast cancer. Men can also get breast cancer, but this is rare. Not counting skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women of all combined major racial and ethnic groups in the United States. Among Hispanic women, it is the most common cause of death from cancer, and it is the second most common cause of death from cancer among white, black, Asian or Pacific Islander, and American Indian or Alaska Native women.
How can I prevent it?
Scientists are studying how best to prevent breast cancer. Ways to help you lower your risk of getting breast cancer include the following:
- Stay physically active by getting regular exercise.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Avoid using hormone replacement therapy (HRT), or find out the risks and benefits of HRT and if it is right for you.
- Limit the amount of alcohol that you drink.
What raises a woman’s chance of getting breast cancer?
There are several factors that may affect your risk of developing breast cancer. These include:
- Getting older
- Not having children, or having your first child later in life
- Starting your first menstrual period at an early age
- Beginning menopause at a late age
- Having a personal history of breast cancer or certain benign breast diseases, such as atypical ductal hyperplasia
- Having close family relatives (such as a mother, sister, father, or daughter) who have had breast cancer
- Having a genetic condition, such as certain mutations in your BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes
- Having been treated with radiation therapy to the breast or chest
- Being overweight, particularly after menopause
- Using hormone replacement therapy for a long time
- Using oral contraceptives
- Drinking alcohol
- Being physically inactive
What are the symptoms?
When breast cancer starts out, it is too small to feel and does not cause signs and symptoms. As it grows, however, breast cancer can cause changes in how the breast looks or feels. Symptoms may include:
- A new lump in the breast
- A lump that has changed
- A change in the size or shape of the breast
- Pain in the breast or nipple that does not go away
- Flaky, red, or swollen skin anywhere on the breas.
- A nipple that is very tender or that suddenly turns inward
- Blood or any other type of fluid coming from the nipple that is not milk when nursing a baby
If you have any of these symptoms, talk to a health care professional. They may be caused by something other than cancer, but the only way to know is to see a health care professional.
For more information visit www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast