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Breast Cancer Screening

Updated: Jun 18

A mammogram is an x-ray image of the breasts used to detect breast cancer and other changes in breast tissue.

 

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer starts in the breast tissue. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women in Canada - 1 in 8 women are expected to develop breast cancer in their lifetime. It also has one of the highest survival rates of all cancers.


Risk Factors

There is no single cause of breast cancer. Risk factors include:

  • Age (most common in people 50+)

  • Family history of breast cancer

  • BRCA gene mutations

  • Alcohol consumption

  • Obesity and physical inactivity

  • Reproductive history


Prevention

Screening mammography is used to look for breast cancer and other changes in the breasts in women with no symptoms. Getting tested regularly will help ensure that breast cancer is caught early.


Get Tested

Getting regular mammograms is an important step in protecting your health. It can:

  • Find cancer early, when it may be smaller or easier to treat

  • Lower the risk of dying from breast cancer

If you are 50 to 74 years old, the Ontario Breast Screening Program recommends getting a mammogram every two years.


If you are 30 to 69 years old and are confirmed high risk, the Ontario Breast Screening Program recommends getting a mammogram with MRI every year. Talk to your doctor if you think you may be high risk.


Talk to your doctor about getting a breast cancer screening requisition.

You can also contact your nearest Ontario Breast Screening Program location or call 1-800-668-9304 to book an appointment.


Mammogram Procedure

The following will happen during your mammogram appointment:

  • a technologist will place your breast on a special x-ray machine

  • a plastic plate will slowly flatten the breast and hold it in place for a few seconds while an x-ray photo is taken

  • there will be two photos taken of each breast


Some women find mammograms uncomfortable. You will feel slight pressure on your breast during the x-ray, but this only lasts a few seconds.


Results

Following your mammogram appointment, a radiologist will look at the photos taken during your procedure for any abnormal tissue in the breasts.


Both you and your healthcare provider will receive the results of your test.


If your test is normal, you will receive a reminder from the Ontario Breast Screening Program to be screened again, every 2 years. If your test result is abnormal, your healthcare provider will arrange for you to have more tests.


Breast Awareness

Early warning signs and symptoms of breast cancer include the following:

  • Changes in the shape of the nipple or discharge from the nipple

  • Breast pain or a new lump that doesn't go away after your next period

  • Unexplained redness, swelling, skin irritation, itchiness or rash on the breast

  • Swelling or a lump around the collarbone or under the arm

While most changes to the breasts are non-cancerous, see your healthcare provider to get a full evaluation if you experience any of the above signs or symptoms.


 

As with any cancer, early detection and treatment are major factors in determining the outcome of a breast cancer diagnosis. Breast cancer is more treatable and more easily cured when caught early.


Schedule an appointment with our Primary Health Care Clinic - 705-269-6662.



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