Komen Aspen renews its pledge | AspenTimes.com

Komen Aspen renews its pledge

Dear Editor:

This week the Aspen affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure is taking an even bigger stand against breast cancer ” along with its partners, local breast cancer survivors, health care advocates and elected officials ” to launch the Komen Community Challenge, a statewide grassroots campaign to fight breast cancer and “Close the Gaps” in research, public policy and access to quality care that make the disease deadlier for some women.

The good news is that 98 percent of women nationwide survive at least five years when their cancer is found and treated before it spreads beyond the breast. We know that early detection is the key to survival. However, the fight against breast cancer is not the same for all women in this state.

This year, more than 2,800 women in Colorado will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and nearly 500 will die from the disease. Women of color, low-income women, and women with too little or no insurance do not have equal access to breast-cancer screening, quality treatment or education and as a result they are more likely to die from the disease.

The Woman’s Wellness Connection (WWC) program in Colorado currently provides free breast cancer and cervical cancer early detection services to low-income women who lack adequate health insurance. But, unfortunately, the state takes advantage of a loophole in the federal law to deny Medicaid treatment coverage for women who visit a non-WWC facility for a mammogram and receive a positive diagnosis ” even when they are otherwise eligible. These women are left to fight their cancers in poverty or die.

These women are not just statistics. They are our neighbors, our colleagues, our loved ones and friends. Their fight is our fight.

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We pledge to better understand and eliminate cultural, emotional, financial and other barriers that keep women in our tri-county service area from getting annual mammograms, and to make sure that every qualified woman in Colorado will receive Medicaid coverage for breast-cancer treatment, no matter where she receives her mammogram.

While we’ve made enormous strides in fighting breast cancer, we must address these gaps in access to care so that every woman has the same chance to fight the disease. We pledge to stay true to our promise to end breast cancer forever, for everyone.

Claudia Curry Hill

executive director

Komen Aspen

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