Press Release

January 14, 2008

Gov. Blagojevich announces six new agencies for the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program

5,200 women have enrolled in the newly expanded Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program since October 2007; new agencies to serve more minority women

CHICAGO, Ill. – Continuing his commitment to providing access to quality healthcare, Governor Rod. R. Blagojevich today welcomed six new health agencies to the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP). Since the Governor expanded the program to all uninsured women in Illinois on October 1, 2007, more than 5,200 women have signed up to receive life-saving screenings and treatment.

“Thousands of women are diagnosed with breast and cervical cancer every year. Since the expansion of the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program on October first, we’ve seen a record number of women sign up to receive free breast and cervical cancer screenings. I’m happy to announce today six new health agencies are joining the program to help make sure every woman in our state is able to get the screenings and treatment they need to stay healthy,” said Gov. Blagojevich.

Illinois is the first state in the nation to provide access for all uninsured women who need breast and cervical cancer screenings and treatment. This expansion makes more than 260,000 additional women eligible for the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program. All uninsured women between the ages of 40 and 64 now qualify for mammograms and breast exams, and uninsured women between 35 and 64 now qualify for pelvic exams and Pap tests. On a case-by-case basis, younger, symptomatic women who meet the guidelines are considered for the program. The screening program is free.

Due to the success of the expansion, a total of nine health agencies have joined the IBCCP as of January 1, 2008. Gov. Blagojevich welcomed three new agencies to the program last month. The six additional agencies that have joined the state’s efforts to increase access to the new program are the Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center in Chicago, Aunt Martha’s Youth Service Center, Inc. in Chicago Heights, Erie Family Health Center, Inc. in Chicago, Asian Human Services Family Health Center in Chicago, Michael Reese Health Trust Research and Education Foundation of the Michael Reese Medical Staff in Chicago and Sangamon County Department of Public Health in Springfield. The three agencies previously announced include PCC Community Wellness Center in Oak Park, Chicago Family Health Center in Chicago and Howard Brown Health Center in Chicago. These agencies will help coordinate the program’s free screenings and treatment for thousands of Illinois women, especially in communities who need it.

“Erie West Town Health Center is proud to be named a lead agency of the IBCCP program,” says Dr. Lee Francis, CEO of Erie Family Health Center. “Our work serves a critical need for women who are uninsured or underinsured. These women face may not perform self breast examinations, are less likely to have an annual mammogram and less likely to be diagnosed in the early stages of breast cancer. Gov. Blagojevich understands the barriers these women face and we’re pleased he expanded the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, because a woman’s health should not depend on her income or insurance carrier.”

Since Gov. Blagojevich took office in 2003, more than 109,000 breast and cervical cancer screenings have been performed through the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program for over 53,000 women. Since the program’s inception in 1995, more than 183,000 screenings have been performed.

The most recent statistics show 8,604 women in Illinois were diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer in 2003. That same year, 2,057 women in Illinois died from breast or cervical cancer. It is estimated that almost 9,000 women will be diagnosed with either breast or cervical cancer this year, and approximately 1,700 will die. But, when breast cancer is diagnosed early, the five-year survival rate is 98 percent. Early detection also significantly increases chances of survival of cervical cancer. In fact, if detected early, cervical cancer is nearly 100 percent curable. Most deaths from cervical cancer could be avoided if women had regular checkups with the Pap test.

Women can find out how to get breast and cervical cancer screening and treatment by logging onto or by calling the Women’s Health-Line at 888-522-1282 or for TTY (hearing impaired use only), 800-547-0466. Information on IBCCP and other women’s health and programs can also be found on the IDPH website,

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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