Press Release

September 10 , 2007


State Public Health Director announces $290,000 for prostate and testicular cancer screenings

EVANSTON – Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, today awarded $290,000 to 15 health departments and organizations to conduct prostate and testicular cancer screenings and educational activities during fiscal year 2008. Prostate and testicular cancer is the second most common type of cancer in American men behind skin cancer.

The grant will be used to fund prostate cancer outreach activities for uninsured and under insured men 50 years of age and older, as well the high risk population that 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.

“This year alone, we estimate about 1300 men will die from this disease,” said Dr. Whitaker. “With the programs in place to screen men, we expect to diagnose more than 8,000 new cases of prostate cancer in Illinois. Early detection is critical so early intervention and treatment can begin.”

The IDPH Wellness on Wheels van was also onsite at Carepoint Adult, Child and Family Services during the announcement to offer free prostate exams and other health screenings.

While scientists do not yet 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.

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:



City of Evanston , Health and Human Services Department


Fulton County Health Department


White Crane Wellness Center


Winnebago County Health Department


Cass County Health Department


Michael Reese Medical Research and Education Foundation


Macon County Health Department


East Side Health District


Jackson County Health Department


Mercer County Health Department


Crawford County Health Department


Champaign-Urbana Health District


Madison County Health Department


Lawrence County Health Department


Macoupin County Health Department




Prior to this year, more than 1,400 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 40,000 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.

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

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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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