The Cancer Detection Program (CDP) 'Every Woman Counts' raised concerns with their recent announcement that they would discontinue breast cancer services for California women until July 1, 2010.

Jennifer Henry, executive director of Links for Life, was one of the concerned. "The CDP is a lifesaver for a large segment of California women," she said. "The thought that they would be denied a mammogram or another screening process was almost unbearable to us."

Links for Life is a grassroots organization, headquartered in Bakersfield, dedicated to women's cancer issues on a very basic level, according to Henry. "We provide mammograms, ultra sounds and needle biopsies as well as support groups, free wigs and prostheses," she said. "These women are our priority."

The Links for Life board has made the decision to dedicate an additional $100,000 towards mammograms, ultrasounds or needle biopsies for those women of Kern County who are under or uninsured, with the money to be made available as of January 1, 2010.

Henry says the funds will be used to cover services for women between the ages of 40 and 49 and women who are in their 50's but not enrolled and who would otherwise qualify for the CDP Every Woman Counts breast cancer screening program.

Henry says while they can't offer screening mammograms, they can help women who have symptomatic issues with their breasts. "If a woman discovers a lump or has a visible change in her breast, that's symptomatic and those are the women who need to contact us."

Links for Life will offer this assistance until the State, as of July 1, again covers breast cancer screening or until these allocated funds are depleted. Links for Life can be reached at 322-5601.

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