ROMEOVILLE, Ill. – With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, state Rep. Natalie Manley, D-Joliet, is encouraging residents to take a few moments and learn about ways they can protect themselves from the disease.
“This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it is important that we all remember that breast cancer has affected hundreds of thousands of Illinoisians, whether by being diagnosed themselves or seeing a loved one fight the cancer,” said Manley. “After helping my mother while she fought breast cancer, I have seen first-hand how difficult it can be physically, financially, and mentally, to be diagnosed with this cancer. No one is immune to breast cancer, it is something that can happen to anyone at any time, which is why it is so important to be vigilant and get checked regularly. It may just save your life.”
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), breast cancer is the most common cancer in women and the second leading cause of cancer death in women in Illinois. In order to combat this disease, IDPH recommends that women between the ages of 40-74 receive a yearly mammogram and do regular self-exams. Other ways to lower your risk for breast cancer include maintaining a healthy diet, limiting alcohol consumption, and getting regular exercise.
During her time in office, Manley has consistently worked to lower costs for mammograms. Last year, she helped pass legislation directing funds raised through the sales of mammogram license plates to the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, which provides free mammograms for uninsured women. She also helped pass a law requiring insurance companies to cover mammograms when they are follow-up exams to a finding on an initial screening.
“All women, regardless of their ability to pay, should be able to get the life-saving procedures they need to protect themselves from breast cancer,” said Manley. “Whether it’s mammograms or other vital procedures, I will continue to fight to lower health care costs for residents across Illinois, because no one should have to get sick because they can’t afford to get the care they need.”