Program offers assistance for breast screenings - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Program offers assistance for breast screenings

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

The Susan G. Komen Foundation recently reversed its controversial decision to fund Planned Parenthood.  Part of the reason for doing so is that Planned Parenthood offers referrals for women to obtain breast health screenings.  In Iowa, the "Care for Yourself" program offers that service, helping many low-income women get connected with life-saving tests and treatments. 

You've heard the advice for years:  all women should do monthly self breast exams.  And if you're over 40, get an annual mammogram.  Those screenings can help detect cancer early, giving you the best shot at beating the disease.

"It's so important to put yourself first and get that mammogram, get your physical, get that paper smear and see a doctor," said Gabbi DeWitt, program coordinator with the Black Hawk County Health Department.

Women ages 40-64 who meet the following net income guidelines can apply.

Family Size                                           Annual Net Income

1                                                          $27,225

2                                                          $36,775

3                                                          $46,325

4                                                          $55,875

5                                                          $65,425

6                                                          $74,975

7                                                          $84,525

8                                                          $94,075

Each additional person add                 $9,550

"Care for Yourself" offers funding for breast screenings and regular pap smears.  This year, the Black Hawk County Health Department has already helped more than 350 women in a multi-county area pay for those services.  Through the end of March, there's still money for 90 more women.  And if your screenings find cancer, the health department can connect you with other services that can help pay for treatment and more.

"We can help them access Medicaid for treatment, but what we can't do is help them pay for groceries, help with their house payment, or things like that while they're going for treatment, and the Beyond PINK team helps with that," DeWitt said.

So to care for yourself, you can check into the program and it might just be life-saving.

The Iowa Department of Public Health administers the "Care for Yourself" program through grant dollars doled out by the Centers for Disease Control.  To get connected with your local program coordinator, call the state's toll-free line at (800) 369-2229 or click here for more information.

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