Santa Barbara Leads Way in Early Breast Cancer Detection

Women Over 40 Can Get Free Screenings

California in 2009 raised the age at which women qualify for free breast cancer screening, from 40 years old to 50. Finding this change unacceptable, Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics and Sansum Clinic have stepped into the breach.

As a result of the age change, the California Department of Public Health’s Every Woman Counts program currently provides free breast cancer screening for California women who are 50 years old or older, with low incomes and without medical insurance that covers these services. (In some cases, their insurance may have a high deductible or require a co-payment that is prohibitively high). The raising of the age bar means thousands of women will have to pay what may amount to a substantial portion of their income before getting screened for breast cancer, a disease that one in eight women will be diagnosed with in her lifetime.

The Santa Barbara clinics’ “collaboration to strengthen Breast Cancer Prevention among low-income women in the Santa Barbara area” intends to ensure that women do not go without the lifesaving preventative measure because they can’t afford it.

“Regardless of age,” the clinics announced in a recent press release, “if breast cancer is first detected after it has already metastasized to another area of the body, chances of surviving 5 years is only about 23 percent.” That is why the clinics’ new program will allow for women in their forties who make less than $22,000 per year to, once again, be offered free mammograms as part of their regular health checkup routine.

For more information about the Neighborhood Clinics/Sansum Clinic Breast Cancer Prevention Program, contact or call (805) 617-7853.

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