Celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month with free mammograms
The Women’s Wellness Connection urges women ages 40 years and older 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.
“Women’s Wellness Connection has made pap tests and mammograms accessible and free for all eligible women. Whether you’re doing it for yourself or for your family, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is the perfect time to get screened. Contact your doctor today and schedule your screenings. They could save your life.” said Emily Kinsella, section manager of the Women’s Wellness Connection Center.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in Colorado among females, killing more than 600 women annually. But when breast cancer is detected early, 98 percent of those diagnosed had a five year survival. Likewise, when cervical cancer is diagnosed early, 92 percent of women had a five year survival.
The Women’s Wellness Connection offers free breast and cervical cancer screening to low- income women aged 40 to 64 years through 34 community providers statewide. Memorial Regional Health screens eligible women in the Yampa Valley.
“Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a good time to remind the women in our lives to get screened,” said Alicia Noland, radiologic technologist with Memorial Regional Health. “We are proud to work with the Women’s Wellness Connection to offer free mammograms and pap tests to women who need them but can’t afford them.”
Low income and uninsured women are less likely to have been screened for breast cancer. In 2018, only 57.8 percent of Colorado women over 50 whose incomes were below 250 percent of the federal poverty level reported having a mammogram in the past two years compared to 74.8 percent of women with incomes above 250 percent of the federal poverty level.
In 2018, only 36.5 percent of uninsured women over 50 reported having a mammogram in the past two years compared to 69.7 percent of women who are insured. According to the health department’s Central Cancer Registry, 74 percent of the 5,034 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 may be available.
The Women’s Wellness Connection has served Colorado’s low-income, uninsured women for over 25 years, with one-third (34%) of it’s almost $6.3 million budget coming from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For more information on where to find a provider, go to womenswellnessconnection.org or call 1-866-951-WELL (9355).
If you or someone you know would like to get a screening and may not be eligible for the WWC Grant Memorial Regional Health offers screening mammograms for $80 or a screening mammogram with 3D (recommended) for a $140 fee during the month of October. This payment is due at the time of service and insurance is not billed. MRH recognizes the importance of preventative screenings and want to ensure all women in our community have access to a screening at a fee they can afford.
For more information on National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, go to NationalBreastCancer.org/breast-cancer-awareness-month.