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Walgreens joins in Breast and Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

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[October 11, 2008]  CHICAGO -- After announcing a new partnership this week between the state of Illinois and Walgreens to encourage women to get screened during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich on Thursday announced an unprecedented response to the "Beautiful Inside & Out" program. In the first three days of this initiative, more than 600 women signed up for the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program and are now eligible to receive a $25 gift card from Walgreens.

"I am very pleased to announce the early success of this very worthwhile and important program," Blagojevich said. "Early detection of breast cancer can, in many cases, mean the difference between life and death. I urge all women in Illinois to get screened this month."

Through the new partnership, Walgreens is providing $50,000 worth of $25 gift cards to women who sign up for the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The first 2,000 women to sign up for the program by calling the Women's Health Line at 1-888-522-1282 to schedule and then keep their screening appointments will receive a gift card. The gift card can be used to help cover the cost of prescription medications or for other necessary purchases.

"I encourage all women in Illinois to take the time to get screened for breast and cervical cancer. Early detection is crucial to the treatment of cancer," said Dr. Damon T. Arnold, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. "With such tremendous support from Walgreens, now more uninsured women around the state will have a greater incentive to sign up for the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program and make and keep their appointment to get screened."

In an effort to make sure every woman knows the importance of routine breast cancer screenings and to make sure every uninsured woman in Illinois knows about the availability of free breast and cervical cancer screenings and low-cost treatment to women who qualify for the state program, beauty salons across the state are joining in the Beautiful Inside & Out initiative. Salon professionals from all over the state have attended trainings to learn about the importance of early detection and screenings, and how to become an advocate for routine breast and cervical cancer screenings.

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According to the American Cancer Society, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer is 98 percent when it is detected early. When breast cancer is detected in later stages, after it has progressed and transferred to other parts of the body, the survival rate drops to 26 percent. Cervical cancer is also treatable if detected early.

The best way to detect cancer early is to have regular breast and cervical cancer screenings. Through the state program, eligible women 35 or older can get cervical cancer screenings, and women 40 or older can get breast cancer screenings. Younger women who have symptoms may also be eligible. If cancer is found, the program offers access to low-cost treatment. Even if women have received a cancer diagnosis outside of the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, they may still receive low-cost treatment.

This October, make sure the women in your life receive their annual mammograms and know about the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program. Let women know that if they sign up for the program during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month by calling the Women's Health-Line at 1-888-522-1282, and make and keep an appointment to get screened for breast cancer, they will receive a $25 gift card from Walgreens.

For more information on signing up for the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program and the Beautiful Inside & Out initiative, visit www.cancerscreening.illinois.gov.

[Text from file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]

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