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July 13, 1999

Ryan Releases Health Grants To Aid In Prevention Of Osteoporosis, Breast Cancer and Other Illnesses

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced the awarding of $2 million in grants and research fellowships that address issues faced by women including osteoporosis, breast cancer and other health-related illnesses.

"These programs will improve the lives of Illinois women of all ages," Ryan said. "The goal is to educate women about the benefits of healthy lifestyles to improve and prevent many chronic conditions."

A total of 87 grants and two research fellowships were awarded in three categories: osteoporosis awareness and prevention received $500,000; the women's health initiative received $1,075,000; and breast and cervical cancer research received $446,663.

"My commitment has been to make women's health a top priority and these grants are a fulfillment of that promise," Ryan said. "A look at the fiscal year 2000 budget and recently passed legislation shows that funds for women's health issues increased by 250 percent over the previous year."

The women's health initiatives are geared toward innovative ideas that encourage healthy behavior in women and girls. Key priorities are menopause, mental health, breast cancer, domestic violence and cardiovascular disease.

Osteoporosis grants were awarded according to several priorities. These included professional and public education; bone screenings with case management and follow-up; and clinical research that compares, analyzes and develops intervention strategies addressing risk factors associated with osteoporosis.

Ryan said health experts report about 1.2 million citizens of Illinois, 80 percent of them women, suffer from osteoporosis, a debilitating disease of the bones that can be prevented and treated. While often perceived as a result of aging, a proper diet and exercise can delay the disease and early interventions can halt or delay further damage.

The breast and cervical cancer research grants come from Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Research Fund. This special fund is supported by taxpayer contributions through their IL-1040 income tax returns and by state appropriations. Since 1994, 46 research projects have received more than $2 million with more than $615,000 coming from tax contributions.

Invasive breast cancer is diagnosed in about 8,500 Illinois women annually and claims the lives of 2,200 each year. Nearly 710 women in Illinois learn they have invasive cervical cancer each year and about 220 women die annually from the disease.


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