johnson pancr canc 080621SPRINGFIELD – In memory of many friends and loved ones who have succumbed to the disease, State Senator Adriane Johnson (D-Buffalo Grove) sponsored a law to encourage early detection and improve outcomes by expanding access to pancreatic cancer screenings.

“Pancreatic cancer can be deadly, but early detection makes a significant difference for patients’ length of survival and quality of life,” Johnson said. “I’m proud to have sponsored this law to make screening accessible and affordable for every Illinoisan.”

The measure requires all Illinois health insurance providers to cover medically necessary pancreatic cancer screenings.

In 2021, an estimated 60,430 new cases of pancreatic cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. and approximately 48,220 people will die from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society. Signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer include abdominal and back pain, weight loss, jaundice, and nausea or loss of appetite.

“Early pancreatic cancer screenings for those at risk can create better outlooks for a patient, which is why we wanted to expand affordable access with this measure,” said State Representative Carol Ammons (D-Urbana), who sponsored the legislation in the House. “Cancer screenings were significantly down last year due to the pandemic. I encourage residents to talk to their doctor about their risk factors and whether it makes sense to get checked out. It could save your life.”

To reduce the risk of developing pancreatic cancer, the Mayo Clinic recommends avoiding smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables and whole grains.

“With this law in place, there’s no reason not to get screened,” Johnson said. “Make an appointment to talk to your doctor about your risk factors, and encourage your friends and family to do the same.”

The law, originally Senate Bill 968, was signed into law Friday and takes effect Jan. 1, 2022.