October 14, 2006
Center for Minority Health Services stresses the importance of mammograms and early detection of breast cancer for African-American women
African-American women 60 percent more likely to die of breast cancer
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Although African-American and Caucasian women are diagnosed with breast cancer at approximately the same rate, African-American women are 60 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than Caucasian women. As part of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Illinois Department of Public Health Center for Minority Health Services along with the University of Illinois at Springfield Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, Greater All Nations Tabernacle Church of God in Christ and the W.K. Kellogg Executive Leaders Fellowship sponsored the “Communities Working Together for a Cure” event at the Prairie Capitol Convention Center to emphasis the need for annual mammograms and stress the importance of early detection.
“Some of the reasons given for the high breast cancer mortality rate among African-American women include lack of insurance; lower rates of screenings; delayed diagnosis, follow-up and/or treatment; poor doctor-patient communication; and perceptions of being treated with respect and cultural sensitivity,” said Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director. “The “Communities Working Together for a Cure” event is the perfect opportunity for African-American women to learn about the importance of early detection as well as screening and treatment options for breast cancer – such as the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program – in a comfortable and supportive setting,”
“A lot of women don’t talk about breast cancer out of fear, but this event is a way for those women to get important information without having to talk about it,” said breast cancer survivor Jennifer Jackson. “This event is also a celebration of life, which is more appealing to women than a formal event where women hesitate to attend and are not as relaxed and open to information.”
The Center for Minority Health Services received $4.2 million for the Illinois Communities of Color Breast and Cervical Cancer Initiative for the 2007 fiscal year. This Initiative includes Stand Against Cancer (SAC) and the Hispanic Breast and Cervical Cancer Program. Both programs work in collaboration with local health departments as well as community and faith based organizations to provide outreach, education, screenings and follow-up services to minority women. In fiscal year 2006, the Initiative provided more than 18,880 breast and cervical cancer screenings and reached more than 157,731 other women outside of IBCCP through educational programs and outreach.
Eliminating health disparities and improving access to health care have been two priorities of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich. Beginning in September 2006, Gov. Blagojevich expanded the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP) to allow 3,000 additional uninsured, low income women to be screened and more than 400 additional women to be treated this year through the Healthcare Benefits for Persons with Breast or Cervical Cancer Act.
Since Gov. Blagojevich has taken office, more than 125,000 breast and cervical cancer screenings have been performed through programs in the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Gov. Blagojevich has made other significant contributions to promote and improve women’s health including:
Women can find out how to get breast cancer screening and treatment by logging on to www.cancerscreening.illinois.gov or by calling the Women’s Health-Line at 888-522-1282 or for TTY (hearing impaired use only), 800-547-0466. Information on women’s health issues and programs can also be found on the IDPH website, www.idph.state.il.us.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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