|September 29, 2003|
GOVERNOR PROCLAIMS BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Noting that more than 10,000 Illinoisans, mostly women, will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today encouraged women to undergo regular cancer screenings and proclaimed October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Illinois.
"This annual observance helps provide education and understanding about the importance of early detection for breast cancer," Blagojevich said.
National studies have found that early detection and prompt treatment can significantly reduce suffering and death caused by the disease, which an estimated 1 in 8 women will develop during their lifetime. Breast cancer is second only to lung cancer as a cause of cancer death in women.
"Research shows that deaths from breast cancer can be reduced by a least 30 percent if individuals follow breast cancer screening recommendations, including routine mammography, regular examinations by a physician and monthly self-exams," said Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director.
As part of a month-long observance, the Illinois Department of Public Health will work with local health departments, hospitals, clinics and community-based organizations to promote the benefits of the Department-run Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program.
This year alone, the program is expected to enroll and provide free screenings to more than 17,000 low-income women between the ages of 35 and 64 who have no health insurance. In addition, women diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer while enrolled in the program may be eligible for treatment benefits through the Illinois Department of Public Aid.
As part of the state's cancer prevention programs, the Department also administers the Penny Severns Breast and Cervical Cancer Research Fund, which taxpayers can support with contributions when filing their annual state income tax returns. Since the fund first appeared on the 1993 state tax form, nearly $1.6 million has been donated to help fund 75 research projects in Illinois relating to the early detection, prevention and treatment of breast and cervical cancer.
In addition to overseeing these efforts, the Department provides a toll-free Women's Health Line, 1-888-522-1282 (TTY for hearing impaired is 1-800-547-0466), which can make available publications and resources covering a range of women's health issues and concerns.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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