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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 6, 2006

State public health director touts the importance of men’s health
Men asked to pledge their support to raise awareness about prostate cancer

SPRINGFIELD – Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, today led a roundtable discussion about improving health among African American men.  Dr. Whitaker invited approximately 50 African American men from organizations in Springfield and Central Illinois to talk about prevention, treatment and care options, as it relates to prostate cancer. 

“Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer found in American men,” said Dr. Eric E. Whitaker.  “But early detection means we can start early intervention and treatment for the 8,000 new cases of prostate cancer we expect this year.”

The goal of today’s event was to raise awareness about men’s health and prostate cancer.  It was also an opportunity for men to sign up for the September 19 Take A Loved One For A Check Up.  The 50 men in attendance, who represented educational-, faith-based-, fraternal-, healthcare, and social organizations, and businesses, pledged to help build a healthier community by:
1. Attending the Take A Loved One For A Check Up event on September 19.
2. Submitting for a prostate cancer test at the September 19 event.
3. Encouraging members of their organizations to schedule a prostate cancer test
4. Exercising more regularly and eating healthier.

IDPH will offer free prostate screenings on the Wellness on Wheels van, September 19 at a Take A Loved One for A Check Up event, at Boys and Girls Club, 300 S. 15th Street, in Springfield.

Earlier this year, Dr. Whitaker announced almost $300,000 has been awarded to 14 prostate and testicular cancer organizations to conduct screening and educational activities during this fiscal year.
IDPH focuses on prostate cancer outreach activities among all uninsured and under insured men 50 years of age and older; and uninsured and under insured men between 40 and 50 years of age who are at high risk for prostate cancer.  The high-risk population 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.

For more information about prostate cancer, log on the IDPH website at www.idph.state.il.us/public/hb/hbproscncr.htm



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