COLORADO, USA — The State of Colorado is offering free Pap and HPV tests to help women fight cervical cancer.
The tests are available at no cost to women who qualify through the Women’s Wellness Connection program run by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).
The Women’s Wellness Connection program operates at 100 clinics across Colorado and serves eligible individuals ages 21 to 64 without health insurance or with limited insurance.
According to the World Health Organization, cervical cancer is the fourth most frequent cancer in women worldwide, yet 92% of women are able to survive cervical cancer when it is found early. According to current guidelines, women ages 21-64 should get checked for cervical cancer every three to five years with a Pap test and/or an HPV test, a release says.
“We are working to break down barriers to connect people to free, lifesaving preventive services across the state,” said Women’s Wellness Connection Section Manager Emily Kinsella.
In support of Cervical Cancer Awareness Month in January, the state encourages Coloradans to keep up on Pap and HPV tests that are used to find cervical cancer early.
Gladys Jones Turnbough, a cervical cancer survivor in Aurora and advocate for Women’s Wellness Connection services, openly shares her story to encourage others to make their cervical cancer screening a priority.
After having abnormal Pap smears on and off since her late 20s, Jones Turnbough was 61 years old in 2013 when she says she had to insist that her doctor give her the screening. Her doctor initially believed she was outside the age guidelines for a routine Pap smear. Her persistence to get the screening paid off when they made a timely discovery: a diagnosis of stage 1 cervical cancer.
“It’s so important to know what is going on with your body by getting a Pap smear,” Jones Turnbough said in a release. “If you have an abnormal Pap smear, find out why and know that there is support.”
For Jones Turnbough, early diagnosis was key to her successful recovery from the deadly disease. After six weeks of intensive treatment, including radiation and chemotherapy, she was officially declared cancer-free.
In addition to free Pap and HPV tests to check for cervical cancer, the Women’s Wellness Connection program also provides free breast cancer screenings. To find out more about the program, people can visit Women'sWellnessConnection.org.
People can also call the American Cancer Society at 1-866-951-9355 for help finding a clinic that offers free or low-cost cancer screenings as part of the Women’s Wellness Connection program near them.
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