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BUFFALO GROVE – For National Mammography Month, State Senator Adriane Johnson is encouraging women who may have deferred breast cancer screenings due to the COVID-19 pandemic to schedule exams promptly.

“If not detected early, breast cancer can quickly become deadly,” said Johnson (D- Buffalo Grove). “A yearly exam can save a life so schedule yours today.”

The National Cancer Institute reports a significant decline in screenings since the pandemic. An estimated 9.4 million screening tests that normally take place each year did not occur in 2020.

In Illinois, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women and its mortality rates are highest among black women.

“The benefits of screening can save lives with early detection and treatment,” Johnson said. “I urge women to schedule their annual mammogram appointments and learn how to lower their risk by staying up-to-date with screenings.”

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reminds the public that the department’s Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP) offers free breast exams and mammograms to uninsured and underinsured women. The IDPH program also supports diagnostic services and assists with referrals for treatment options.

To enroll in IBCCP, women can call the Women’s Health Line 888-522-1282 (800-547-0466 TTY). The Women’s Health Line will be able to walk women through the eligibility requirements and the screening process.