Pink Potluck in Illinois about breast cancer screenings

Women across Illinois are being encouraged to host "Pink Potluck" events to raise awareness about the importance of routine breast and cervical cancer screenings.

Representatives from the Illinois Department of Public Health were in Quincy today to promote Pink Potlucks.

"We found that word of mouth is typically the best way to get awareness out about a program. Typically women listen to their friends," said Melaney Arnold, an IDPH spokesperson.

"A Pink Potluck is hopefully a fun event, a time to get together and talk, but also a time to have a serious conversation about breast and cervical cancer screenings," Arnold said. "Early detection typically means the difference between life and death."

Like a traditional potluck, women bring a healthy dish or dessert to share and the state provides information about getting screened for breast and cervical cancer. Pink Potlucks also are an opportunity to spread the word about the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, which was recently expanded by Gov. Rod Blagojevich to allow all uninsured women to take advantage of free screenings and low-cost treatment options.

The discussion will include Sharon Matthews, assistant director of the Illinois Healthcare and Family Services agency in the governor's office.

The event will begin at 11:30 a.m. at St. Augustine of Hippo Catholic Church, 408 Columbia Place.

The event is free and open to the public.