COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Low-income Colorado women are now eligible for free cervical cancer screenings.
Emily Kinsella, the manager of Women's Wellness with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said that the pandemic resulted in more women delaying screenings.
In Colorado, around 150 women are diagnosed with some type of invasive cervical cancer annually. Two out of every 100,000 Colorado women die from the disease every year.
"You can even detect before it becomes cancer or if it becomes cancer the earlier you detect it the easier to treat and the easier it is to defeat,' Kinsella said.
The statewide testing is in response to an increase in the number of women who delayed screenings during the pandemic.
KRDO spoke with one cancer survivor who credits early detection for keeping her alive.
Laurie Cardin was first diagnosed with cervical cancer when she was 48 years old.
"My world stopped, everything else was moving around me. I call it a snow globe. So I was stationary, but everything else was going around me," explained Cardin.
She underwent treatment for cervical cancer before being told by doctors that she was cancer free. Now, nine years later, Cardin is urging other women to get tested regularly at annual gynecology exams.
"Prevention is key to life in this situation," added Cardin.
The State of Colorado is offering free cervical cancer screenings for low-income women who have no insurance or are underinsured.
"Our goal is really to reduce cervical cancer and reduce diagnosis and reduce deaths from cervical and breast cancer," said Kinsella.
The state says eligible women can receive free cancer screenings and services for the next five years. You can see if you qualify for the free tests here.