Taking Care of HER

Taking Care of HER
Cancer Prevention and Education for Women

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Did you know that women of color are at a greater risk of developing and dying from breast and cervical cancers than white women? YWCA Central Massachusetts is here to help you get informed, get on track, and make sure you have access to the resources you need to reduce your cancer risk. Click through the tabs below for details about breast and cervical cancers, risk factors for developing these cancers, strategies for lowering your risk, and resources to help you take care of HER.

What is Cancer?

Breast Cancer Cervical 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. Cervical cancer occurs when abnormal cells on the cervix grow out of control. The cervix is the lower, narrowed part of the uterus that connects the vagina to the upper part of the uterus.

Who is At Risk?

Breast Cancer Cervical Cancer
All women are at risk for breast cancer. Among Hispanic women, it is the most common cause of cancer deaths, and the second-most common cause of cancer deaths among other populations. Although more white women get breast cancer, more black women die from it. Cervical cancer generally occurs in midlife. Hispanic women are diagnosed at rates 65% higher than white women, followed by African-Americans at 45%, and other racial minorities. The highest death rate is
among African-American women, who were nearly 3 times as likely to die from cervical cancer compared to white women of the same age group.

Risk Factors

Breast Cancer Cervical Cancer
  • Age
  • Menstrual and reproductive history
  • Family history
  • Certain genetic conditions
  • Having used certain medications such as oral contraceptives or hormone replacement.
  • Lifestyle factors such as being sedentary or drinking alcohol.
  • Family history
  • Oral contraceptive use for 5 or more years.
  • Health history including infection with HPV, HIV or Chlamydia.
  • Pregnancy history (3 or more full-term, or first full-term pregnancy before age 17)
  • Lifestyle factors such as smoking, being sedentary or low intake of fruits and vegetables.

Lowering Your Risk

Breast Cancer Cervical Cancer
  • Talk to your healthcare provider.
  • Get regular breast exams.
  • Get yearly mammograms after age 40.
  • Stay physically active.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Limit alcoholic drinks.
  • Get routine pap tests. Cervical cancer is one of the successfully treated cancers when found at an early stage, with a 92% 5-year survival rate.
  • Talk to your provider about the HPV vaccine.
  • Stay physically active.
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.

What Next?

YWCA Central Massachusetts is here to help you get informed, get you on track, and make sure you have access to the resources you need to reduce your cancer risk.

We can help you:

  • schedule your mammogram or pap test
  • get or stay physically active
  • get connected with medical providers

Sign up below to get started, or contact us at womenshealth@ywcacm.org or 508-767-2505 ext. 3022.

Women's Health Network Screening Sign Up Form

This Women's Health Network Program is offered in partnership with the Family Health Center of Worcester, which receives funding from MA Department of Public Health. All information provided is accessible to the MA DPH. Requests for free screenings are referred to Family Health Center, 26 Queen St., Worcester.
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