October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to those who have already seen displays of pink around our cities and towns, and countless other messages in the media reminding us of the toll that breast cancer takes each year. While treatments for breast cancer have become more advanced, individualized, and accessible to American women and men who need them, breast cancer still claims over 40,000 lives in the U.S. every year. For American women, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer with the exception of skin cancers, and approximately 1 in 8 (12%) women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer during her lifetime. Despite these troubling statistics, the 5-year relative survival rate for breast cancer is as high as 99% for localized breast cancer (based on SEER staging guidelines), but varies greatly depending on the stage and type of cancer at diagnosis. It is because of these varying outcomes that the need for early diagnostic screening is so significant.
In Colorado, Community Health Centers (CHCs) provide primary and preventative care to more than 650,000 people, with over 93% of CHC patients having family income levels below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. It is within underserved and low-income populations like these that accessible and fully-covered diagnostic screening services for breast cancer are especially needed. Colorado Community Health Network (CCHN) has received funding from Susan G. Komen Colorado for over 15 years, and with that funding CHCs have provided a huge number of screening and diagnostic services to women in need across the state. So far, in grant year 2015-2016, eight CHCs have provided nearly 1,000 procedures for nearly 650 underserved or at-risk women and men that would otherwise not qualify for funding. The Komen grant is a unique service for low-income individuals that do not qualify for WWC, Medicaid, or other available funding methods. Thanks to initiatives like these, CCHN and its network of CHCs are able to contribute to the goal of reducing overall breast cancer deaths through enabling early detection and treatment among Colorado’s low-income and underserved populations. To learn more about CCHN’s partnership with the Susan G. Komen Foundation and to find out which CHCs are participating, visit our webpage, here.
Are you interested in a mission driven career that helps make a difference in patients’ lives? Check out the Mission Driven Careers Job Board or the CHAMPS Job Opportunity Bank for more information about rewarding careers with a Colorado CHC. To learn more about Colorado’s CHCs and other great work they are doing, visit CCHN’s website.