Iowa program offers breast cancer screening options
Written by Michael Crowe, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
BLACK HAWK COUNTY (KWWL) -
When Jennifer Laughlin Stevenson found a lump in her breast, a lot of thoughts ran through her mind.
"The what ifs," she said. "I've got three kids, three stepkids, a business and a family. What am I going to do?"
She had just started her own business with her husband -- Hick's Place, on the edge of Cedar Falls.
She had had a few lumps removed in the past, but now, she didn't know what to do.
"I didn't have health insurance," she said. "I'm a new business owner. It's just not something we can afford yet as we're building our business, so I was pretty terrified."
That's where Iowa Care For Yourself came in. The service helped her get the screening she needed -- free of charge.
"As women, we take care of everyone else in our family," said Gabbi DeWitt, the Program Coordinator of Care For Yourself. "We often are the ones running the ship, and if you don't take care of yourself, then you're not there to help your family."
DeWitt said the Care For Yourself program serves a vulnerable demographic: women who make too much money to qualify for government assistance, but too little to pay for quality care on their own.
For a family of four, that's an approximate annual income of less than $58,000. For single woman, the minimum is about $28,000.
"So to say, 'I can't afford to get a mammogram, I can't afford to get a pap smear,'" DeWitt said. "That's not an excuse, because we have this program."
Back with Laughlin Stevenson, she said the free screening gave her back her peace of mind.
"I know that I don't know where I would be without it," she said.
The program will also pay for her follow-up care.
The Iowa Care For Yourself program is sponsored by the Center for Disease Control, and there are similar programs in every state.
The program often allows participants to see their regular doctor.
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