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June 15, 2008

Blagojevich administration launches Step Up to the Plate campaign to raise awareness of men’s health
White Sox encourage men to Step up to the plate during Men’s Health Week

CHICAGO – On behalf of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, Dr. Damon T. Arnold, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Governor’s Special Healthcare Advocate Dick Kay, today teamed up with the Chicago White Sox to launch the Step Up to the Plate campaign.  This new awareness initiative will help get the word out about preventable health problems, and encourage early detection and treatment of diseases among men and boys.  During Men’s Health Week, men and boys are encouraged to check out the new men’s health Web site www.illinois.gov/menshealth and Step Up to the Plate.
“Men today face many health and wellness issues, and it’s important they take the time to visit their doctors for a checkup,” said Governor Blagojevich.  “The outcome of prostate cancer, as well as many other health conditions, depends on early detection and treatment.  That’s why it is important for men and their families to be aware of available screening options and other necessary information.”
Here are some health statistics men may not be aware of:
·        On average, men live six years less than women
·        1 in 4 men has high blood pressure
·        1 in 5 men can expect to have a heart attack before the age of 65
·        1 in 6 men will develop prostate cancer
·        1 in 12 men can expect to develop diabetes
·        1 in 22 men will suffer from depression some time during his life
The goal of the Step Up to the Plate campaign is to reduce these numbers, by promoting awareness of men’s health issues.  The men’s health Web site, www.illinois.gov/menshealth includes information about getting screened, self checkups, the top 10 diseases that affect men, tips for healthy living, frequently asked questions, and additional resources.
“Men don’t always take care of their health the way they should.  I’m here with the Chicago White Sox to encourage men to take time to go to the doctor, get a checkup and make sure they’re taking care of their health,” said Darrin Jackson, Commentator for White Sox television broadcasts.  “The new men’s health Web site is making the information we need to stay healthy available and every man should take advantage of it.”
Prostate cancer is a primary focus of the campaign.  It is the most common cancer, other than skin cancers, in American men.  In 2008, The American Cancer Society estimates that about 186,320 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the United States and approximately 28,660 men will die of prostate cancer.  The Illinois State Cancer Registry estimates approximately 8,340 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in Illinois during 2008 and 1,330 men will die from it.  Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer.  Prostate cancer accounts for about 9 percent of cancer-related deaths in men.

“I was diagnosed with prostate cancer about five years ago.  But because it was caught early, I can happily say I’m cancer free.  If it were not for early detection, the outcome could have been very different,” said Dr. Arnold.  “I urge every man to overcome their fears of prostate cancer exams, whether due to embarrassment or the fear of a positive finding, because ultimately, that exam could save your life.”

Reverend James Demus was diagnosed with colon cancer in December, but after surgery and chemotherapy, he says he’s doing great.
“My doctor had been telling me for five years to get a colonoscopy.  During my surgery to remove the cancer the doctors told me that if I had gone even two years earlier, they could have snipped out the polyp.  I want to tell men to get the test.  Trust me, it’s much easier to take a polyp than to take 12 inches of your colon.”
The men’s health campaign is an effort to raise awareness and inform men and their families about some common health problems they may face, and to encourage them to take advantage of early screening and follow-up.  For more information, log onto www.illinois.gov/menshealthStep Up to the Plate.


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