CHICAGO – For Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, state Rep. Kam. Buckner, D-Chicago, is drawing attention to the importance of mammograms and the availability of free breast cancer screenings for women through the Illinois Department of Public Health’s (IDPH) Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP).
“Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death among women, regardless of race or age,” said Buckner. “Early detection and proper preventative care are too critical to not be accessible to all women in our community.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cancer is the second leading cause of death among women and one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Breast cancer is even deadlier for Black women, as they are 40% more likely to die from complications relating to breast cancer than white women. Early detection is critical to preventing death and complications since breast cancer is easier to treat in earlier stages.
In 2019, Buckner supported a law, Senate Bill 162, to require health insurance companies in Illinois to cover both screening mammograms and diagnostic mammograms without charging a copay as part of preventative care coverage. That law also requires health insurance companies to cover follow up mammograms ordered by physicians.
Buckner is also highlighting the availability of free breast exams, mammograms, and treatment options for low-income women through the IBCCP. The program is open to uninsured Illinois women between the ages of 35 and 64. Women can find out more about the program and learn how to apply at the IDPH website, dph.illinois.gov, or by calling the state’s Women’s Health Line toll-free at 888-522-1282.
“Breast cancer screenings and quality treatment options are accessible for both insured and uninsured women in our community. Screening for breast cancer, and treatment if necessary, will help local women live longer, healthier lives,” Buckner said. “As we recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I strongly encourage all women to schedule a screening for breast cancer.”