Illinois Governor Promotes Men's Health
In a continued push to improve the health of Illinois residents, state public health director Dr. Damon T. Arnold, on behalf of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today kicked off Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Dr. Arnold made the announcement during a screening event at Lake Shore Urology at St. Mary’s Hospital in Decatur. The Macon County Health Department Care Force One van was also on-site with information reminding men of the importance of routine prostate screenings.
Also today, Dr. Arnold announced $277,000 in grants to 14 local health departments and organizations across Illinois to conduct prostate and testicular cancer screenings and educational activities during Fiscal Year 2009.
“Men don’t always take care of their health the way they should, so it’s important they take the time to visit their doctors for a check-up,” said Governor Blagojevich. “The outcome of prostate cancer, as well as many other health conditions, can improve greatly with early detection and treatment.”
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer other than skin cancers in American men. In 2008, the American Cancer Society estimates that about 186,320 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the United States and approximately 28,660 men will die from it. The Illinois State Cancer Registry estimates approximately 8,340 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in Illinois during 2008 and 1,330 men will die from it. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer.
“I was diagnosed with prostate cancer about five years ago but because it was caught early, I can happily say I’m cancer free. If it were not for early detection, the outcome could have been very different,” said Dr. Arnold. “I urge every man to overcome their fears of prostate cancer exams, whether due to embarrassment or the fear of a positive finding, because ultimately, that exam could save your life.”
“We are proud to offer free prostate screenings through the generosity and expertise of the urology group on campus, Lake Shore Urology,” said Kelly Hazenfield, Community Relations Director at St. Mary’s Hospital. “St. Mary’s is also pleased to partner with the Macon County Health Department and the Central Illinois Us TOO Prostate Cancer Support Group to spread the message of how crucial it is for men to get regular prostate screenings.”
The Macon County Health Department is one of the recipients of the grants that were announced today, and will utilize the funding for conducting prostate and testicular cancer screenings.
“This the 11th consecutive year for the health department to receive this particular grant, which has allowed us to provide free prostate and testicular cancer screenings for underserved men in Macon County,” said Macon County Health Department Administrator Jerry Andrews. “The purpose is early detection of cancer; the earlier cancer is found, the earlier it can be treated and lives will be saved.”
The grants will be used to fund prostate cancer outreach activities for uninsured and under insured men 50 years of age and older, as well as high risk populations, which includes all African-American men older than 40 years of age and men over the age of 40 who have a family history of prostate disease.
The Illinois Department of Public Health recently helped coordinate prostate cancer screenings in the Department’s Wellness on Wheels van for approximately 60 men during the DuQuoin State Fair. The Department will also work with local health departments and others to provide screenings at the 2008 Greater Chicago Prostate Cancer Run, Walk ‘n’ Roll on September 14 in Grant Park and the 2008 Southern Illinois Hunting and Fishing Days on September 27 at John A. Logan College in Carterville.