Celebrate breast cancer awareness month with free mammograms

Vanessa Bernal, Media Relations Specialist | 303-692-2156 | vanessa.bernal@state.co.us
DENVER - The Women’s Wellness Connection urges women ages 40 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.
The Women’s Wellness Connection offers free breast and cervical cancer screening to low-income women ages 40 to 64 years through 45 community providers statewide.
"Breast cancer screenings are critical for women over 50," said Emily Kinsella, Women's Wellness Connection manager at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. "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.”
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 have a five-year survival. Likewise, when cervical cancer is diagnosed early, 96 percent of women have a five-year survival.
Low-income and uninsured women are less likely to have been screened for breast cancer. In 2016, only 63.9 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 76.4 percent of women with incomes above 250 percent of the federal poverty level. This means there are approximately 92,000 low-income women in Colorado who are not up to date with breast cancer screening.
In 2016, only 46.2 percent of uninsured women over 50 reported having a mammogram in the past two years, compared to 73.2 percent of women who are insured. This means there are approximately 22,500 uninsured women in Colorado who are not up to date with breast cancer screening. According to the health department’s Central Cancer Registry, 73 percent of the 4,800 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 women are enrolled in the Women’s Wellness Connection program, treatment resources are made available.
The Women’s Wellness Connection has served Colorado’s low-income, uninsured women for 25 years, with almost one-third (31 percent) of its almost $6.5 million budget coming from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For more information on where to find a provider, go to Women’s Wellness Connection or call 1-866-951-WELL (9355). For more information on National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, go to NationalBreastCancer.org/breast-cancer-awareness-month.