Ask CDC - Healthy Living
The best place to start searching for cancer services in your area is your state or local health department. Support groups are also often listed in local newspapers.
Other useful resources for cancer support and services include:
- The American Cancer Society (ACS)External, a research organization that also offers information about treatment options, understanding your diagnosis, coping strategies, support programs, advice for family, and more.
- The Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF)External helps cancer survivors who are having money problems due to cancer treatment.
- The National Cancer Institute (NCI)External, through the Cancer Information Service, provides the latest and most accurate cancer information and resources to patients, families, the public, and health professionals about topics such as coping with cancer, clinical trials, services and support available, and more.
- CancerCareExternal provides free, professional support services to people who have been touched by cancer, including people with cancer as well as those who care for them or who have lost someone to cancer.
CDC is working with national, state, and local partners to create programs that help the millions of people in the U.S. who live with or survived cancer.
American Cancer Society
Patient Advocate Foundation
Coping with Cancer
U.S. National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute
You can find information about safe motherhood on CDC’s Division of Reproductive Health Website. For additional resources on women’s health and infant health before, during, and after pregnancy, visit the Maternal and Infant Health webpage. Safe motherhood begins before conception (before you become pregnant) with proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle, and then continues with appropriate prenatal care.
Healthcare providers and women can work together to prevent and control conditions before and during pregnancy to improve chances for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
If you are pregnant, or are thinking about becoming pregnant, be sure to see a doctor or healthcare provider to start prenatal or preconception care right away. If you don’t have a doctor, contact your state or local health department. Learn more about what to do before pregnancy, during pregnancy, and after the baby arrives.
Office on Women’s Health Helpline
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health
Hours: Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. ET (closed on federal holidays)
CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) offers free or low-cost mammograms and Pap tests to women who qualify.
The program is for women who don’t have health insurance or have insurance that doesn’t cover the tests. The rules about who can participate vary by state. You will need to contact a local program to see if you qualify.
American Cancer SocietyExternal
- Helps control your weight
- Reduces risk of cardiovascular (heart and blood flow) disease
- Lowers blood pressure and improves cholesterol
- Reduces risk of type 2 diabetes (high blood sugar)
- Reduces risk of metabolic syndromeExternal
- Reduces risk of colon and breast cancer, and possibly other types of cancer
- Strengthens bones and muscles
- Improves mental health and mood
- Improves your ability to do daily activities
- Prevents falls
- Increases your chances of living longer
Before starting any fitness program, you may want to speak with your doctor. This is especially important if you have a chronic, long-term disease such as:
- A heart condition,
- Arthritis (joint pain),
- Diabetes (high blood sugar), or
- High blood pressure.
Your doctor can help you figure out what types and amounts of exercise are right for you.
To learn more about the benefits of physical activity, please visit CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity page.
Federally funded health centers serve people with limited access to healthcare. They provide primary healthcare to people of all ages, whether or not they have health insurance or money to pay for healthcare. Patients pay what they can afford, based on income.
Health centers can be found in most cities and in many rural areas. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)External can help you locate a center in your county.
Find a Health CenterExternal
CDC-INFO is not able to diagnose your illness or give medical advice on your condition. CDC does not have public hospitals or doctors’ offices and does not:
- See patients,
- Diagnose illnesses,
- Give specific opinions or advice about symptoms,
- Provide medical or veterinary treatment, or
- Prescribe medicine.
If you think you need medical care, please see your doctor or healthcare provider right away. If you do not have a doctor, visit the MMWR Public Health Resources: State or Territorial Health Departments Website to find a health department or other healthcare provider in your area.
CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health (OSH) leads and coordinates strategic efforts to protect the public’s health from the harmful effects of tobacco use, including efforts to eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke. To accomplish our goals, we work with local, state, national, and international leaders to:
- Expand the science base of effective tobacco control, including elimination of secondhand smoke exposure
- Build sustainable capacity and infrastructure for comprehensive tobacco control programs
- Communicate timely, relevant information to constituents, policy makers, and the public
- Coordinate policy, partnerships, and other strategic initiatives to support tobacco control priorities
- Foster global tobacco control through surveillance, capacity building, and information exchange
Through CDC’s Smoking and Tobacco Use Website, you can receive more information on related topics, such as:
- Health problems, death and disease rates caused by secondhand smoke
- Effects of secondhand smoke exposure on children
- Ways to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke at work and at home
- How smoke-free businesses can improve health and productivity
- How laws and policies can reduce secondhand smoke exposure
- State smoke-free indoor air laws
- Smoke-free multiunit housing facts
- Surgeon General’s report on secondhand smoke
The Tips From Former Smokers® campaign features real people who are living with serious long-term health effects from smoking and secondhand smoke exposure. The campaign has aired over the past 6 years and has been shown to impact smoking behaviors. In 2012 alone, Tips® caused an estimated 1.64 million American smokers to make a quit attempt and about 100,000 of these smokers to quit smoking for good.
The Tips® ads encourage smokers to call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or to visit cdc.gov/tips to obtain free assistance and resources to help them quit. Additional information about the Tips® campaign, including published articles and links to the ads, is also available on the Tips® Website. Questions not answered on the website, or feedback about the campaign, can be sent to CDC-INFO.
If you’re concerned about the quality of your tap water, talk to your state, local, or tribal water department. You may also contact the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Safe Drinking Water HotlineExternal.
EPA and state, local, and tribal authorities set standards for the quality of tap water.
Even if your tap water meets EPA standards, you still may not like the way it looks, tastes, or smells. For this reason, EPA has a secondary set of standardsExternal based on these properties, rather than health effects. State and public water systems often decide to adopt these standards.
EPA Safe Drinking Water HotlineExternal
Please contact your doctor or healthcare provider about contraceptive birth control options. Your doctor knows your health history and risks and is the best source for information specific to you. As with all medications or pharmaceutical products, contraceptives must be used as directed. If directions are not followed, the risk of failure increases.
You can find more information about forms of birth control on CDC’s Reproductive Health: Contraception Website.
Emergency contraceptivesExternal should be started within 72 hours after unprotected sex. The earlier started, the more effective it appears to be.
If you don’t have a doctor, contact your local health department for names of clinics in your area that can provide services at reduced cost or no cost to you.
In some cases, genes do play a direct role in obesity. However, the more typical type of obesity is the result of the interaction between dozens (or hundreds) of genes and a person’s environment. Research is still emerging on how genes affect obesity-causing factors such as appetite (feeling hungry or full) and metabolism (how the body uses energy from the food you eat).
Some genetic disorders can directly cause obesity. These include:
However, genes don’t always predict health. Genetics may affect weight in some people, but obesity is most likely caused by a combination of factors, including:
- Multiple genes,
- Behavior (for instance, a person may eat too much or exercise too little), and
- Environment (where people live might determine how often they exercise, or what food is available).
- The Fruits and Veggies–More MattersExternal campaign is sponsored by CDC, and aims to improve public health by getting people to eat more fruits and vegetables each day.
- The USDA SuperTracker WebsiteExternal has many resources on nutrition and food choices to help people maintain healthier eating habits.
You can find more dietary guidelines from:
- Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)External, and
- Department of Agriculture (USDAExternal).
Body Mass Index (BMI) is measured using a person’s height and weight, which includes both muscle and fat. BMI is not a direct measure of body fat. Some people, like athletes, may have a high BMI due to muscle, and not body fat.
While a person with a BMI in the overweight range may not have excess body fat, most people with a BMI in the obese range do.
Weight is only one factor related to risk for disease. If you have questions or concerns about your weight, talk to your doctor.
Human breast milk is the best food for all infants, but there are rare cases when human breast milk or breastfeeding is not recommended.
You should NOT breastfeed or feed expressed breast milk to your baby if you:
- Have HIV
- Have suspected or confirmed Ebola virus disease
- Are taking antiretroviral medicines, which are used to treat HIV and some types of cancer
- Have active tuberculosis (a lung infection) and have not been treated by a doctor
- Have human T-cell lymphotropic virus (HTLV) type I or type II
- Use or depend on any illegal drugs, except if you are a narcotic-dependent mother enrolled in a supervised methadone program and have a negative screening for HIV infection and other illicit drugs
- Are being treated for cancer with chemotherapy
Women undergoing radiation therapy to treat cancer should also stop breastfeeding for a short time.
Babies born with a disorder called galactosemiaExternal should not be breastfed. People with this disorder cannot process a type of sugar called galactose, which is naturally found in milk.
Talk to your doctor if you have questions about whether it is safe for you to breastfeed. Your doctor can review your situation and determine whether you need to stop breastfeeding.
American Academy of Pediatrics
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health
You can take the following steps to maintain good oral health:
- Drink fluoridated water and use fluoride toothpaste to prevent tooth decay.
- Take care of your teeth and gums by brushing twice a day and flossing every day.
- Avoid all forms of tobacco. Smokers have twice the risk of gum disease compared to non-smokers. Cigarettes, smokeless, and other forms of tobacco cause cancer of the mouth.
- Limit alcohol. Heavy use of alcohol, especially combined with tobacco, cause at least 75% of head and neck cancers.
- Avoid eating too many processed sugary snacks.
- Visit the dentist regularly. Check-ups can detect early signs of tooth decay, gum disease, and other problems, and treatment can prevent further damage or reverse the problem.
- If you have diabetes, take steps to control the disease. People with diabetes have an increased risk of gum disease.
- Talk to your doctor about medications that cause dry mouth. If dry mouth can’t be avoided, drink plenty of water and avoid tobacco and alcohol.
U.S. National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
National Cancer Institute, NIH
National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse
American Academy of Periodontology