Stand Against Cancer (SAC) Announces Five City Tour to Promote Cervical and Breast Cancer Awareness and Screenings for Women of Color

Posted: Monday, June 20, 2011 08:31 PM
Springfield– June 20, 2011– Stand Against Cancer (SAC), a state funded collaboration between Illinois churches, faith – based organizations, hospitals, clinics, county health departments, community organizations, and the American Cancer Society, will sponsor five community health fairs throughout central and southern Illinois beginning Friday, June 25, 201l, concluding Thursday, June 30, 2011. Targeted Illinois communities are: Decatur, Springfield, Carbondale, East St Louis, Alton, and Danville.

This five city tour is STAND’S call to action due to Illinois having the 6th highest mortality rate for breast and cervical cancer in the nation, with women of color and uninsured women showing significantly higher mortality rates than white women and/or insured women. The Stand Against Cancer events are designed to target African American and Hispanic women between the ages of 18-35, who are low income because of their higher incidence of death due to delayed diagnosis and less access to treatment.
The Facts on Cervical Cancer in Illinois
According to the Illinois Department of Public health, the latest data for Illinois shown in 2006 revealed that 572 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer. That same year, 173 women died of cervical cancer. In 2010, it was estimated that 610 women in Illinois would be diagnosed with cervical cancer and approximately 180 women would die from it.
The Facts on Breast Cancer in Illinois
Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths for women. The Illinois State Cancer Registry projected 9,320 women in Illinois would be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, and an estimated 1,880 women in Illinois would lose their life to breast cancer that same year.
“It is of grave importance that we educate African American and Latino women about the importance of annual breast exams and cervical cancer screenings,” said Doris Turner, Chief for the Illinois Department of Public Health, Center for Minority Health. “Even though breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women, if it is detected while still in its earlier stages, it can be successfully treated.” Ms. Turner further went on to say that, “Cervical cancer is also treatable if detected early. Because there are often no noticeable symptoms, it is important that women get screened regularly and have a Pap test to find any abnormal changes that could turn into cancer.
Each of the five Stand Against Cancer events will provide on-site appointment settings for local Stand Against Cancer programs, recruit new local partners to serve as Ambassadors, and feature breast and cervical cancer testimonials from survivors who know firsthand the importance of early detection.
As a participant in the health fairs, women will be informed of breast and cervical cancer facts and risks, and the resources available to them in their community. Each health fair is specifically designed to address women’s health and wellness holistically; thus, in addition to providing opportunities for them to schedule breast and cervical cancer screening appointments, the Stand Against Cancer health fairs will also feature free routine health screenings, free pampering services (facials, back massages, pedicures and manicures), and free salsa classes.
STAND currently partners with 25 churches, as well as religious and community organizations in the Chicagoland area and downstate Illinois. They, along with the American Cancer Society, provide community education to women in these demographic areas about the importance of early detection in fighting breast and cervical cancer. Churches then partner with a STAND community health center and hospital that provide clinical breast exams, mammograms, pap smears and other services free or at low-cost to women who are Illinois residents, have limited incomes and/or no health insurance.

Current stand participants are: Access Community Health Network; the American Cancer Society; 25 churches; 2 Latino faith-based organizations, and 18 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) throughout the state. STAND is funded by the Illinois Department of Public Health, Office of Minority Health.

Women are eligible for STAND only if they are a resident of Illinois, 18 years or older, uninsured without Medicaid or Medicare, and be considered low income (up to 250%) of poverty level.