Press Release

June 16, 2006


State Public Health Director announces grants for prostate and testicular cancer screenings in honor of Men's Health Week

Grants allow more men to be screened and saved

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, today announced that $290,000 has been awarded to 14 prostate and testicular cancer organizations to conduct screening and educational activities during fiscal year 2007. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) focuses on prostate cancer outreach activities among uninsured and under insured men 50 years of age and older; and uninsured and under insured men between 40 and 50 years of age who are at high risk for prostate cancer as the primary target population. The high-risk population includes all African-American men older than 40 years of age, and men over the age of 40 who have a family history of prostate disease.

“Regular screening can lead to early detection of prostate cancer and treating prostate cancer in the early stages can lead to a better outcome,” said Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director. “I urge men, particularly those older than 50 years of age, and African-American men older than 40, to learn more about the disease and talk with their health care provider about prostate cancer.”

Dr. Whitaker reminded men that along with regular screenings and checkups, men should eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, reduce stress, keep alcohol consumption to moderate levels and reduce or stop using tobacco.

While scientists do not know what causes prostate cancer, some factors increase the risk including family history or race. Men with a father or brother who has had prostate cancer are at greater risk and the disease is more common in African American men. In fact, African American men are about one-third more likely than Caucasian men to develop the disease, and have the highest incidence rate for prostate cancer in the world. It is less common in Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander and Native American men than in Caucasian men. Men aged 65 years of age or older make up more than 70 percent of all diagnosed prostate cancer cases.

“Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer found in American men,” said Dr. Eric E. Whitaker. “With the programs in place to screen men, we expect more than 8,000 new cases of prostate cancer in Illinois. This is important because early detection means early intervention and treatment can start.”

The program also focuses on Illinois males, ages 14 to 35, since the at-risk population for testicular cancer is much younger.

Grants have been awarded through a competitive process to the following agencies:

  • Cass County Health Department – $13,000
  • Champaign-Urbana Public Health District - $24,000
  • City of Evanston Department of Health and Human Services, $10,500
  • Fulton County Health Department – $15,000
  • Jackson County Health Department - $30,000
  • Macon County Health Department - $17,500
  • Madison County Health Department - $30,000
  • Mercer County Health Department - $25,000
  • Michael Reese Medical Staff, Research and Education Foundation, Chicago - $35,000
  • Sangamon County Health Department - $10,000
  • Southern Seven Health District - $10,000
  • White Crane Wellness Center, Chicago – $35,000
  • Whiteside County Health Department - $10,000
  • Winnebago County Health Department - $25,000

Prior to this year, more than 800 men who were screened for prostate cancer were discovered to have abnormal PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood tests (the primary screening test for prostate cancer) or an abnormal DRE (digital rectal exam). These men were unaware of their potential health issues until the collaborative efforts provided the opportunity for screening at a local level and the incentive to seek medical consultation and care.

The program has been in operation since legislation was passed in 1999 establishing the Prostate and Testicular Cancer Program. Since the year 2000, grants have been awarded to local health departments and community-based organizations that have reached out to more than 25,000 men with health screenings and educational efforts. Grantees provide:

  • information regarding the incidence of prostate and testicular cancer, the risk factors, and the benefits of early detection and treatment;
  • prostate cancer and testicular cancer screening; and
  • appropriate referral for persons with abnormal results.

In 2006, an estimated 1,440 men in Illinois will die of this disease (according to the Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois State Cancer Registry.) The program aims to reduce and ultimately end those occurrences.

For more information, please contact the Illinois Department of Public Health at 217-782-3300.

idph online home
idph online home

Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
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