CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich issued a proclamation today at the ABCAP (Anaia’s Breast Cancer Cervical Awareness Program), Inc. and V-103 Health Seminar declaring September 29 and 30, 2006 Anaia’s Breast Cancer Awareness Program Days. The proclamation was issued in honor of Anaia Bedford, who lost her battle with breast cancer in April 2004. Anaia’s husband, Ken Bedford, created ABCAP, Inc. in tribute to his wife and in an effort to raise breast cancer awareness.
“When it comes to breast cervical cancer, early detection is the key to survival. When breast cancer is diagnosed early, the survival rate is 96 percent. Early detection means finding the cancer before you see the symptoms,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “We recently expanded the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program so that thousands of uninsured women, who otherwise might not get screened, will now have access to early detection and treatment. We’re pleased to work with V103, with ABCAP and with Ken Bedford in particular on this initiative. Ken’s work is inspirational to all of us.”
The 3rd Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Gala and Tribute included performances by Angela Winbush, Phil Perry, Glenn Jones and Ray Silkman on Friday night. Actress Vivica Fox and actor Richard Roundtree were keynote speakers at the health seminar on Saturday, which also included free mammogram testing on site, a breast cancer survivor’s forum, health and fitness experts, exhibits and entertainment.
“I thought that if I could grab the attention of women with a party/concert like atmosphere, I would have a captive audience. Once assembled, I could educate them on the importance of breast cancer awareness,” Bedford said.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women and is second only to lung cancer as the leading cause of cancer death.
Mammography screenings are a woman’s best chance for detecting breast cancer early, and when coupled with new treatment options, can significantly improve a woman’s chance of survival.
Gov. Blagojevich expanded the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP), effective September 1, 2006 to allow 3,000 additional uninsured, low income women to be screened and more than 400 additional women to be treated this year through the Healthcare Benefits for Persons with Breast or Cervical Cancer Act.
Since Gov. Blagojevich has taken office, more than 125,000 breast and cervical cancer screenings have been performed through the Illinois Department of Public Health IBCCP and Stand Against Cancer programs.
Gov. Blagojevich’s work towards promoting and improving women’s health includes:
- Illinois Healthy Women program: Governor Blagojevich created the Illinois Healthy Women program, which has helped women across the state who are losing their Medicaid eligibility stay healthy and promoted healthy births by providing comprehensive coverage for reproductive health care, including annual physicals, Pap smears, mammograms, screening and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and contraceptives. More than 214,000 women have been offered this program since its inception in 2004.
- Increased funding for women’s health: Governor Blagojevich has consistently made women’s health a priority, allocating $24.1 million in state funding for women’s breast and cervical health programs over the last four years. This year, Governor Blagojevich allocated $2.1 million in new funding to increase eligibility for life-saving breast and cervical cancer screenings to women with incomes up to 250 percent of the federal poverty level.
- Signed women’s health legislation into law: Gov. Blagojevich signed several pieces of legislation affecting women’s health in Illinois. The “Ticket for the Cure” is a new lottery game to raise money for breast cancer research and services. Senate Bill 12 requires insurance companies to cover screening for breast cancer earlier in a woman’s life if her doctor considers her to be at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. House Bill 3564 expanded and renamed the Penny Severns Breast and Cervical Cancer Research Fund to include ovarian cancer research. Senate Bill 521 requires insurers to provide coverage for ovarian cancer screening tests for women who are at risk. In 2004, Gov. Blagojevich also signed legislation creating a 12-member Cervical Cancer Elimination Task Force to help educate the public about cervical cancer and develop a statewide comprehensive prevention and control plan.
- Stand Against Cancer Initiative: Beginning in 2003, Gov. Blagojevich funded the Stand Against Cancer (SAC) initiative, a community outreach and screening program targeting the hardest to reach minority women. It is conducted by a coalition of neighborhood organizations, churches and Federally Qualified Health Centers. In fiscal year 2006, SAC provided more than 18,880 breast and cervical cancer screenings and reached more than 157,731 other women outside of IBCCP through educational programs and outreach.
- Hispanic Breast and Cervical Cancer Initiative: In 2005, Gov. Blagojevich launched the Hispanic Breast and Cervical Cancer initiative, which is closely patterned after the Stand Against Cancer initiative. Women screened through the initiative who subsequently need diagnostic tests are referred to local IBCCP lead agencies.
- Illinois WISEWOMAN Program: Providing the WISEWOMAN cardiovascular research program in both English and Spanish languages in 21 Illinois counties. The project is targeted toward women enrolled in the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program and helps them reduce heart disease by leading healthier lifestyles.
- Women’s Health-Line: Increased access to services through Women’s Health-Line and other informational resources. In FY06, the state-funded toll-free Women’s Health-Line responded to more than 2,000 requests, referring women to services and providing more than 223,757 free educational materials to women and community providers. These materials are also available through the department’s website.
Women can find out how to get breast and cervical cancer screening and treatment by logging on to www.cancerscreening.illinois.gov
or by calling the Women’s Health-Line at 888-522-1282
or for TTY (hearing impaired use only), 800-547-0466. Information on IBCCP and other women health issues and programs can also be found on the IDPH website, www.idph.state.il.us