San Juan Basin Health Department 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. “The screenings Women’s Wellness Connection provides saves lives,” said Tiffany Switzer, clinic manager of the Sexual Health Clinic and Women’s Wellness Connection at San Juan Basin Health Department.

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.

Low income women are less likely to have been screened for breast cancer. The Women’s Wellness Connection offers free breast and cervical cancer screening to low-income women in the southwest region aged 40 to 64 years. If cancer is detected while enrolled in the program, treatment resources are made available. “Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a great time to remind our community about the Woman’s Wellness Connection and to encourage individuals to get screened,” said Switzer.

San Juan Basin Health’s Sexual Health Clinic has received $66,973 in Title X funding for the fiscal year 2015-2016. The Women’s Wellness Connection reimburses the health department based on the actual services they provide during the fiscal year with a maximum funding amount of $2,460 for care coordination and $15,200 for service delivery. Sexual health services are offered Monday – Thursday at the Durango office and every Wednesday plus two Thursdays per month at the Pagosa Springs office.