Press Release

October 16, 2009


National Mammography Day - Illinois Department of Public Health Encourages Women to Get Screened

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Recognizing today as National Mammography Day, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Damon T. Arnold is encouraging women in Illinois to get routine breast cancer exams and screenings.

“It’s estimated 1,850 women in Illinois will die of breast cancer this year. We can decrease that number by making sure women get routine breast cancer screenings so that cancer can be caught before it spreads. Mammography is still the most effective screening for early detection and I want to encourage women to use National Mammography Day as a reminder to get their screenings,” Dr. Arnold said.

Accurate mammography results are critical for diagnosing breast cancer. To ensure every mammography machine is operating properly, experts from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) thoroughly inspect nearly 400 mammography facilities throughout Illinois each year. Illinois is one of only three states in the nation approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to certify mammography facilities.

“Every day, our inspectors are working to ensure that mammography equipment in Illinois is operating safely and providing accurate results,” said IEMA Director Andrew Velasquez III. “I encourage women to look for the IEMA mammography certificate to verify that the facility is certified.”

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and IEMA both offer brochures that provide patients with information about mammography and breast cancer and can be found at and

According to the American Cancer Society, the five year survival rate for breast cancer is 98 percent when it is detected early. When breast cancer is detected in later stages, after it has progressed and transferred to other parts of the body, the survival rate drops to 26 percent. Cervical cancer is also treatable if detected early.

Through the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP), eligible women 40-years or older can get breast cancer screenings and women 35-years or older can get cervical cancer screenings. Younger women who have symptoms may also be eligible. If cancer is found, IBCCP offers access to low-cost treatment. Even if a woman has been diagnosed with cancer outside of the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, they may still receive low-cost treatment.

In recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) continues to help women across the state host Pink Potlucks. The potlucks are an opportunity for women to talk with other women about the importance of screenings and early detection of breast and cervical cancer. Illinois kicked off the first Pink Potlucks by inviting women in congregations and community groups across the state to host the events. Just like a regular potluck, everyone coming to the event brings a healthy dish or dessert to share. Women then talk about breast and cervical cancer using materials provided by IDPH about the importance of early detection through screenings and exams.

The Department also welcomed the Pink Heals Tour to Springfield – a band of fire fighters traveling across the country in pink fire trucks to raise awareness of breast cancer and its survivors.

For more information about IBCCP or hosting a Pine Potluck log onto

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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