As part of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Governor Pat Quinn today welcomed country music's Martina McBride and the PINK TOGETHER Express to Union Station. McBride's cross-country train tour is dedicated to raising awareness of breast cancer and helping those touched by the disease. Each year, more than 9,000 Illinois women are diagnosed with breast cancer.
"Breast cancer affects the lives of thousands of mothers, sisters and daughters each year, and early detection is the key to saving lives," Governor Quinn said. "This is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and we want to make sure that all women know about the importance of early breast cancer detection and the programs Illinois has in place to ensure that women across the state can access screenings and exams."
The Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP) provides free pelvic exams and Pap tests to uninsured women between the ages of 35 and 64, and free breast exams and mammograms to uninsured woman between the ages of 40 and 64. On a case-by-case basis, younger, symptomatic women may also be eligible. Since its inception in Oct. 1995, the IBCCP has screened almost 139,000 women for breast cancer, providing more than 176,000 screening mammograms, with more than 37,000 in fiscal year 2011 alone.
Through IBCCP, Illinois was the first state to offer free breast and cervical cancer screenings and low-cost treatment to all eligible, uninsured women in Illinois. Women enrolled in the IBCCP and diagnosed with cancer through the program's screenings and tests are also eligible to receive free or low-cost treatment. In addition, women who are diagnosed outside the program, but meet IBCCP eligibility requirements, are also able to receive these treatment benefits.
Mammograms remain the best tool for early detection of breast cancer. 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) inspect nearly 360 mammography facilities throughout Illinois each year. Illinois is one of only four states in the nation approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to certify mammography facilities.
For more information on breast cancer, visit the Illinois Department of Public Health's website at www.idph.state.il.us/cancer/types/publications_breast.htm. For more information on the IBCCP, visit http://cancerscreening.illinois.gov.