"It is important for all women to be routinely screened for cervical
cancer because early detection is the key to survival," Blagojevich
said. "Women who smoke need to know that they are increasing their
risk of developing cervical cancer. This is a perfect time to make a
resolution to put your health first and get routine cervical cancer
Smoking exposes the body to many cancer-causing chemicals, which
are absorbed by the lungs and carried in the bloodstream throughout
the body. The American Cancer Society reports that tobacco
byproducts have been found in the cervical mucus of women who smoke.
Researchers believe these substances damage the DNA of cervix cells
and may contribute to the development of cervical cancer.
According to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition, about 10,000
women in the U.S. are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year and
about 3,700 women die from this disease annually.
The latest data for Illinois shows that 560 women were diagnosed
with cervical cancer in 2005. That same year, 183 women died of
cervical cancer. It is estimated that in 2009, 590 women in Illinois
will be diagnosed with cervical cancer and approximately 200 women
will die from it.
"Almost every cervical cancer death is preventable through early
detection, treatment and follow-up," said Damon T. Arnold, director
of the Illinois Department of Public Health. "Women who do not
receive regular Pap tests are most at risk for cervical cancer.
Families and friends don't have to lose a loved one to cervical
cancer and women don't have to suffer if they take care of
themselves and routinely get screened for cervical cancer."
"In order to reduce cervical cancer morbidity and mortality in
Illinois, increased awareness of cervical cancer and preventive
health-seeking behavior is needed," said Stacie E. Geller, Ph.D.,
chairwoman of the Illinois Cervical Cancer Elimination Task Force.
"We must work to increase awareness of cervical cancer preventive
measures, including access to the HPV vaccine through educational,
advocacy and legislative efforts to medical providers, health
educators, policymakers and consumers."
The Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program offers free
pelvic exams and Pap tests to any uninsured woman age 35-64 and free
breast exams to any uninsured woman age 40-64. On a case-by-case
basis, younger, symptomatic women who meet the guidelines are
considered for the program. The screening program is free.
Uninsured women diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer will
qualify for comprehensive health care coverage provided by the
Department of Healthcare and Family Services as long as they need
treatment for breast or cervical cancer. Women diagnosed with a
pre-cancerous cervical cancer condition who need follow-up
diagnostic tests will also qualify for HFS coverage to determine
whether they actually have cervical cancer. Health care coverage
will include doctor visits, inpatient and outpatient hospital care,
emergency services, prescription drugs, and more. Women who need
treatment will pay modest co-payments for doctor visits, brand-name
prescription drugs and inpatient stays.
[to top of second column]
For smokers looking for help to quit, the Illinois Department of
Public Health funds a toll-free help line at 866-QUITYES
(866-784-8937). For more information about the Smoke Free Illinois
www.smoke-free.illinois.gov. People also can use the site to log
complaint about a business or individual violating the law.
Women can find out how to get breast and cervical cancer
screening and treatment by visiting
www.cancerscreening.illinois.gov or by calling the
Women's Health-Line at 888-522-1282 or, for hearing-impaired use
only, TTY 800-547-0466. Information on the Illinois Breast and
Cervical Cancer Program and other women's health programs can also
be found at
The Logan County Department of Public Health is an eight-county
lead agency for the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program. The
department's coverage area includes the counties of Cass, DeWitt,
Logan, Macon, Mason, Morgan, Piatt and Shelby. Women wishing to know
if they qualify for this program may call the Logan County
Department of Public Health at 800-269-4019, or for more
information, they can visit
The governor's proclamation reads as follows:
WHEREAS, every year
in the United States there are approximately 10,000 women diagnosed
with and 3,700 women who die from cervical cancer; and
WHEREAS, in 2009,
it is estimated in Illinois 590 women will be diagnosed and 200
women will die from cervical cancer; and
deaths from the disease could be avoided if women had regular
checkups, including a Pap test. Early detection significantly
increases chances of survival. In fact, if detected early, cervical
cancer is nearly 100 percent curable; and
WHEREAS, that is
why I expanded the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program,
which made Illinois the first state in the nation to ensure that all
women can get access to potentially life-saving cancer screenings
and treatment; and
January, public and private organizations and state and local
governments all around the country will promote education about
cervical cancer screenings, treatment and causes:
THEREFORE, I, Rod
R. Blagojevich, Governor of the State of Illinois, do hereby
proclaim January 2009 as CERVICAL CANCER AWARENESS MONTH in
Illinois to raise awareness about cervical cancer and to encourage
all women to get tested regularly for the disease.
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information file received from
Logan County Department
of Public Health]