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October 17, 2008

Governor Blagojevich Proclaims Today Mammography Day in Illinois
State, Walgreens and beauty salons make sure women get screened and spread the word about free breast cancer screenings and low-cost treatments

SPRINGFIELD – Proclaiming today National Mammography Day in Illinois, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich is urging women to get screened for breast cancer.  As an incentive for women to get their screenings, the State has teamed up with Walgreens to give the first 2,000 women who sign up for the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP) and get their screenings a $25 Walgreens gift card.  In less than two weeks since announcing the partnership, approximately 850 women have signed up for IBCCP.
“By proclaiming today National Mammography Day in Illinois, I hope women will use this day as a reminder every year to get their annual breast cancer screenings and to remind the women they love to get their screenings,” said Governor Blagojevich.
Walgreens is providing $50,000 worth of $25 gift cards to women who sign up for IBCCP during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  The first 2,000 women to sign up for IBCCP by calling the Women’s Health Line at 1-888-522-1282 to schedule and keep their screening appointment will receive a gift card.  The gift card can be used to help cover the cost of prescription medications or for other necessary purchases.
In an effort to make sure every woman knows the importance of routine breast cancer screenings and to make sure every uninsured woman in Illinois knows about the availability of free breast and cervical cancer screenings and low-cost treatment to women who qualify for IBCCP, beauty salons across the state are joining in the “Beautiful Inside & Out” initiative.  Salon professionals from all over the state have attended trainings to learn about the importance of early detection and screenings, and how to become an advocate for routine breast and cervical cancer screenings.
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. 
“It’s estimated more than 1,900 women will die of breast cancer this year.  We can decrease that number by making sure women get their annual 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 yearly reminder to get their screenings,” said Dr. Damon T. Arnold, Illinois Department of Public Health Director.
Through IBCCP, eligible women 40 or older can get breast cancer screenings and women 35 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.
This October, make sure the women in your life receive their annual mammograms and know about the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program.  Let women know that if they sign up for IBCCP during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month by calling the Women’s Health Line at 1-888-522-1282 and make and keep an appoint to get screened for breast cancer, they will receive a $25 gift card from Walgreens.
For more information on signing-up for IBCCP and the “Beautiful Inside & Out” initiative, log onto www.cancerscreening.illinois.gov.


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