CHICAGO – To stress the importance of women getting routine breast and cervical cancer screenings, Deputy Governor Louanner Peters kicked-off Women’s Health Week in Illinois today by leading a Pin-A-Sister event at Fellowship Baptist Church. Women’s Health Week is a perfect time to focus on women’s health, including the importance of early detection, which all uninsured women now have access to through the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP) expansion.
This Mother’s Day churches all across Illinois showed their support of the thousands of women whose lives have been touched by breast cancer and sent the message that early detection saves lives. The Pin-A-Sister campaign begins when a designated woman in the church pins a pink ribbon on each breast cancer survivor, and each of the survivors in turn pin a pink ribbon on the rest of the women in the congregation.
“As a breast cancer survivor, I want to make sure every woman knows how important it is to get regular breast and cervical cancer screenings. The Pin-A-Sister events happening in churches all over Illinois today visually demonstrates the communities’ support and celebration of breast cancer survivors and their commitment to making sure women are aware of and take advantage of available health care options,” said Deputy Governor Peters.
Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich recognized the importance of early detection and expanded the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP) on October 1, 2007 to become the first and only state to offer free breast and cervical cancer screening and low-cost treatment to all uninsured women in Illinois. The number of women who have been served and screened through the IBCCP continues to grow thanks to Gov. Blagojevich and the expansions he’s made to the program in Illinois.
Not only can women visually demonstrate their support of breast cancer education, screenings and survivors, they can also host a “Pink Potluck” to help spread the message. Everyone coming to a “Pink Potluck” brings a healthy dish or dessert to share and then talks about breast and cervical cancer and the importance of screening using information provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). The potlucks are also an opportunity for women to talk about other health issues they face such as cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and obesity.
“I want to encourage women to make their health a top priority during Women’s Health Week and take simple steps to live a longer and healthier life. Some of the steps women can take to improve their physical and mental health and prevent disease include being physically active, like taking a walk, and making healthy food choices such as fruits and vegetables,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Damon T. Arnold. “The more women know about the diseases that affect them and their own risk factors, the better able they are to take charge of their health and live better lives.”
In addition to IBCCP, the Governor has also supported the Illinois Department of Public Health Office of Women’s Health and its administration of three specific cardiovascular programs: Heart Smart for Women, Heart Smart for Teens and the Illinois WISEWOMAN Program.
In honor of the Governor’s Women’s Health Week launch, local health departments across the state will be holding workshops, health fairs and screenings to address health issues like cardiovascular disease. This year’s theme is “Get Inspired, Get Healthy.” The following are activities across the state women can participate in to live longer, healthier and happier lives.
Bond County Health Department May 12 – Women’s Walk
May 20 – Health Fair
Boone County Health Department May 11-17 – Three “Lunch and Learn” – physical and mental health
Carroll County Health Department May 5 and May 14 – Health Fair – screenings and information on blood sugar, cholesterol, healthy eating, breast cancer, body fat analysis
Cass County Health Department May 13 – Health Fair – screenings for African-American and Hispanic women as well as others
Champaign-Urbana Public Health District May 15 – Seminars, Screenings, Speakers – personal wellness for women
Crawford County Health Department May 14 – Health Fair
DeWitt-Piatt Bi-County Health Department May 16 – Health Fair – screenings of blood glucose, height, weight and BMI calculation
Douglas County Health Department May 14 – Health Fair – screenings and Hispanic outreach
East Side Health District May 17 – Workshop for the Hispanic community
Jersey County Health Department May 16 – Health Fair – screenings and information
Kankakee County Health Department May 15 – Health Fair – Africa-American females – screenings
Knox County Health Department May 15 – Workshop and Health Fair
LaSalle County Health Department May 15 – Health Fair – education and health experts
Livingston County Public Health Department May 19 – Health Fair – education and risk factors
Logan County Health Department May 11-17 – Health Fair – speaker and screenings
Macoupin County Public Health Department May 16 – Health Fair – Salad and dessert luncheon
Marshall County Health Department May 11-17 – Health Fair – heart disease prevention, stroke prevention, health eating, osteoporosis prevention
Mason County Health Department May 15 – free cholesterol, lipid and diabetes screenings
McDonough County Health Department May 12 – Macomb and May 15 – Bushnell – screenings and health program information
Pike County Health Department May 8 – Health Fair – health exhibitors and displays
Rock Island County Health Department May 16 – Ladies Night Out – health experts, comedian, health trivia, flamenco dancers
Stephenson County Health Department May 9 – Health Fair and Cooking demonstration. Healthy lifestyles and eating
Warren County Health Department May 4 and May 13 – Health Fair – screenings
Wayne County Health Department May 3 and May 10 – Health Fair
For information about women’s health call the IDPH Women’s Health Line at 1-888-522-1282. For information on hosting a “Pink Potluck” or the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program log onto www.cancerscreening.illinois.gov.