In 2012, it is estimated that 9,100 Ontario women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and that 2,000 will die from the disease.
There are approximately 1.9 million women in Ontario aged 50 to 74 who are potentially eligible to be screened for breast cancer in 2012.
Breast cancer screening aims to detect cancer as early as possible, before symptoms appear. Research clearly shows the benefits of screening for breast cancer, the most common cancer in Canadian women affecting one in nine in their lifetime.
“Research shows that regular screening of women aged 50 to 69 can reduce deaths from breast cancer by 21 per cent,” Mark Hartman, Cancer Care Ontario regional vice-president for the northeast, and vice-president of cancer services and medical imaging at Health Sciences North, said in a press release.
“We have seen a 37-per-cent reduction in breast cancer death rates for Ontario women aged 50 to 74 over the period of 1990 to 2008, which is a direct result of better treatments and increased screening with mammography. Screening finds breast cancer earlier, when there are more treatment options and an improved chance of survival.”
The Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) provides high-quality mammography services and meets Canadian standards for the early detection of small invasive cancers, the press release said.
Select OBSP High Risk Screening Centres in the northeast region now facilitate genetic assessment for women who may be at high risk for breast cancer (if appropriate), and offer screening mammography and breast MRI for women whose high risk status has been confirmed.
Women who think they may be at high risk for breast cancer need to visit their physician for a referral to the OBSP’s high risk screening program based on their family or medical history.
Women aged 50 to 74 who are not at high risk for breast cancer can phone any OBSP screening location to make an appointment since a referral is not needed.
Women should see their family doctor or nurse practitioner to discuss what breast cancer screening option is appropriate for them, the press release said.
Ontarians can also visit ontario.ca/screenforlife and complete the “Time to Screen” tool to find out when it’s the right time for them to get screened.
To find an OBSP site, call 1-800-668-9304 or go to www.cancercare.on.ca/obsplocations.