By Karen Forest
Special to The SUN
The Women’s Wellness Connection and the American Cancer Society urge women ages 40 to 64 years to talk with their doctors during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October about screening for breast cancer. Women who can’t afford mammograms may be eligible for free screening from a local health care provider.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in Colorado among females, killing more than 500 women annually. But when breast cancer is detected early, 98 percent of those diagnosed can survive. Likewise, when cervical cancer is diagnosed early, 96 percent of women survive.
The Women’s Wellness Connections offers free breast and cervical cancer screening to low-income women aged 40 to 64 years through 46 community providers statewide.
Nearly one in four low-income, uninsured Colorado women has been screened for breast and cervical cancer through the Women’s Wellness Connection. According to the health department’s Central Cancer Registry, 72 percent of the 4,300 breast cancers diagnosed each year in Colorado are detected early, with lower early detection rates for Latino, black and uninsured women. If cancer is detected while enrolled in the program, treatment resources are made available.
The Women’s Wellness Connection has served Colorado’s low-income, uninsured women for more than 20 years, with nearly half (48 percent) of its $8.3 million budget coming from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. WWC partners with the American Cancer Society to increase community awareness and education on the need for timely cancer screenings.
For more information on where to find a provider, go to womenswellnessconnection.org or call (866) 951-WELL (9355). For more information on National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, go to http://nbcam.org/.