CHICAGO – For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, State Rep. Lindsey LaPointe, D-Chicago, is shining a light on the importance of access to breast cancer exams.
“With Breast Cancer Awareness Month, there is no question that it is critical to raise awareness on the importance of routine screenings for breast cancer. The earlier the cancer is detected, the greater the survival rate,” said LaPointe. “With that said, we cannot afford to forget about the women who may not always have access to these life-saving tests.”
LaPointe is encouraging women in need to take advantage of the Breast Cancer and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP). The program is operated by Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and provides eligible women free breast exams and mammograms, as well as Pap tests and pelvic exams. Women are eligible for these services if they are an uninsured Illinois resident between the ages of 35 and 64. Additionally, if someone who is enrolled in the IBCCP is diagnosed with cancer through the program’s screenings and tests, they would be eligible to receive treatment benefits. For more information, please visit www.dph.illinois.gov or call the Illinois Women’s Health-Line at 1-888-522-1282.
LaPointe is also noting Illinois’ new balanced budget that provides $14.5 million for these potentially lifesaving services for Illinois women, as well as legislation to mandate that insurance companies cover diagnostic mammograms as part of preventative care.
While breast cancer can present a risk in anyone, it is far more common to develop in women. The exact cause of breast cancer can be difficult to narrow down to one cause, ranging from family background to dietary changes to environmental factors. Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach to preventing breast cancer, early detection can provide more options for treatment and significantly improve the likelihood of survival. That is why routine visits to one’s healthcare provider and participating in routine mammogram exams are absolutely critical to combatting the development and spread of breast cancer.
“Given the life-saving potential of mammogram exams, it is important to note that Senate Bill 162, a new law that will expand coverage for various types of breast cancer screenings, was passed with bipartisan support” LaPointe said, “No matter where you come from, every woman should have access to medical exams that could mean the difference between life and death.”
LaPointe represents the 19th District, which covers portions of Chicago’s Big Oaks, Dunning, Gladstone Park, Jefferson Park, Portage Park, Union Ridge and West Portage Park neighborhoods, and River Grove, Elmwood Park, Norridge and Harwood Heights.