October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the South West Regional Cancer Program, in partnership with Cancer Care Ontario is encouraging women ages 50-74 to talk to their healthcare provider about getting screened with a mammogram.
Did you know? Breast cancer is the most common cancer in Ontario women. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, with the majority of cases found in women ages 50 to 74. In the Southwestern Ontario, it’s predicted that 300 women will be diagnosed in this year alone.
While it may be the most common, according to the 2016 Ontario Cancer Statistics the amount of deaths from breast cancer has decreased by approximately 42 per cent for women aged 50-74 from 1990-2012. This decrease may be due to more research, better treatment options and of course, regular screening.
“Breast cancer has one of the highest survival rates out of all of the cancers in Ontario,” says Dr. Jan Owen, Regional Primary Care Lead for the South West Regional Cancer Program. “Studies show that regular mammograms lower the risk of dying from breast cancer in women ages 50 to 74. Screening mammography can find breast cancers when they are small, less likely to have spread and more likely to be treated successfully.”
The Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) is a province-wide organized screening program that aims to reduce breast cancer mortality through regular screening. There are various screening sites across the South West providing high-quality breast screening to women free of charge regardless of whether or not they have a family doctor.
The following groups of women are eligible for a mammogram through the OBSP:
- Most women ages 50-74 be screened every two years with mammography
- Women ages 30-69 who are confirmed to be at high risk of getting breast cancer be screened once a year with a mammogram and breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
For every 200 women screened in the OBSP, about 17 are sent for more tests and one will have breast cancer. With all of life’s demands booking a mammogram may not be ranked high on the priority list but Dr. Owen argues it should be. “My advice – just book it,” she says. “It could save your life.”
Eligible women are encouraged to book a mammogram at any time by calling 1-800-668-9304. No referral from a doctor is required.
More information can be found at www.cancercare.on.ca/justbookit.