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Where should i go for a mammogram?

The aim of breast cancer screeningScreening:
The search for diseases such as breast cancer in people without symptoms. Mammography is an important tool for breast cancer screening and earlier detection.
is to reduce mortality ratesMortality (rate):
The number of people that die from a disease in a population over a period of time.
by detecting breast cancer earlier. When breast cancer is detected at an earlier stageStage:
A way of classifying breast cancer that describes how far a cancer has spread. It identifies whether breast cancer is at an early, locally advanced or metastatic stage. The stage of breast cancer can sometimes be represented as a number (e.g. between 0 and 4).
, most patients have more treatment options, less invasive treatment, and a better chance of surviving the disease.

Breast cancer screening in Canada is available through screening programs run by the provincial and territorial governments. Referred to as “organized” breast cancer screening programs, they are designed to screen the majority of women in Canada who are at average risk for developing breast cancer, and offer the highest quality screening.

In the organized programs, regular breast cancer screening is offered to all eligible women free-of-charge, with the costs covered by your provincial or territorial health insurance program. Besides being free, there are other health benefits to joining your region’s organized breast screening program.

 

Benefits of organized breast screening programs

 

 

 

Canadian women can also access breast cancer screening through private, on-demand facilities with a health care provider’s referral. It’s important to be aware that not all clinics offer the same quality of service. For the best care possible and the highest quality screening, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation encourages women to have a mammogramMammogram (also called mammography):
A low-dose X-ray of the breast. It is used to take images of the breasts and is an important screening tool for the earlier detection of breast cancer.
with their provincial or territorial organized breast screening program or at a clinic accredited by the Canadian Association of Radiologists.

 

Eligibility for breast cancer screening

Eligibility to join your organized breast screening program is based mainly on age. All of the organized breast screening programs in Canada encourage women at average risk of breast cancer with no breast symptoms to have regular screening mammograms. Half of Canada’s organized breast cancer screening programs invite women to screen from the age of 40, with some programs requiring a health care provider’s referral for the first appointment. The remaining programs invite women to screen from the age of 50. Most programs also recommend an upper age limit for screening. The list below indicates the eligibility criteria for breast cancer screening. Please contact your regional program if you have questions about your eligibility or to book an appointment.

Some provinces and territories include screening for women at high risk for breast cancer in their screening programs. Others have developed guidelines for health care providers to follow in referring their high risk patients for breast cancer screening. If you think you may be at high risk for breast cancer, a health care provider can do an initial assessment of your breast cancer risk, and consider referring you for geneticGenetic:
Related to or caused by the genes.
counseling for further assessment – or to a high risk screening program or clinic.

What can I do if I am not eligible and wish to have a mammogram?

Earlier detection and diagnosis of breast cancer through participation in an organized screening program can reduce breast cancer deaths in women 40-49 by 25%. Despite difference in screening policies and practices across Canada, research shows that women aged 40-49 at average risk for breast cancer can benefit from having an annual screening mammogram, and the benefits increase with age.

If you are aged 40-49 but not eligible to join your organized breast cancer screening program, you may wish to have a mammogram for your preventive health care or be advised to do so by a health care provider. You can choose to have a mammogram but may need a referral from a health care provider.

Referral to the highest quality screening

 

For the highest quality screening and associated health benefits, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation encourages you to request your health care provider to refer you to a clinic that is part of your provincial or territorial organized breast cancer screening program or one that has been accredited by the Canadian Association of Radiologists (CAR). A list of CAR–accredited mammography clinics across Canada is available on the CAR website

Digital mammographyDigital mammography:
A low-dose X-ray similar to screen-film mammography, equipped with a digital receptor and a computer instead of film.
has largely replaced screen-film mammography in most parts of Canada. This is because it is better at detecting breast cancer in women in their 40s, women 50+ who have not gone through menopauseMenopause:
A natural part of a woman's aging process, when the ovaries start to make less estrogen and progesterone and the menstrual periods stop. This change typically occurs between the late 40s and mid-to-late 50s.
, and women with clinically diagnosed dense breastsDense breasts (breast density):
Dense breasts have less fat and more glandular and connective tissue. A woman’s breast density depends on her age and genetic factors. Breast density is a risk factor for breast cancer. Having “dense breasts” is a clinical diagnosis that can only be assessed by mammography.
. Wherever it is available, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation encourages women to be screened with digital mammography.


 

CANADA’S ORGANIZED BREAST CANCER SCREENING PROGRAMS

Alberta Breast Cancer Screening Program 

1-866-727-3926

 

Age eligible to screen:

40 – 74

Targeted age group (women can self-refer):

50 – 74

Frequency:

​Once every 2 years for women at average risk
Annual for women 40-49 and women at high risk

Women 40-49:

Health care provider’s referral required for first appointment only. Women in this age group are encouraged to speak to a health care provider about the benefits and limitations of screening mammography

Women 75 or over:

Can continue to benefit from regular screening mammograms. Talk to your health care provider about the benefits and limitations of screening mammography

Mobile services Available

High risk screening:

Screening guidelines for women at high risk recommend annual mammogram and/or MRI, beginning no earlier than age 25 and no later than age 40. A health care provider’s referral is required. Women require more intensive screening if there is a personal or family history of breast and or ovarian cancer, abnormal results from a previous biopsy, a history or radiation treatments, or BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations in the family

 

 

Screening Mammography Program of British Columbia

1-800-663-9203 or 604-877-6187

Age eligible to screen:

40 – 74

Targeted age group (women can self-refer):

​40 – 74

Frequency:

Once every 2 years for women at average risk
Annual for women 40-49 and women at high risk

Women 40-49:

Health care provider’s referral not required, but is recommended. Women in this age group are encouraged to speak to a health care provider about the benefits and limitations of screening mammography

Women 75 or over:

Health care provider’s referral not required, but is recommended. Women in this age group are encouraged to speak to a health care provider about the benefits and limitation of screening mammography

Mobile services available

High Risk Screening:

Annual screening by digital mammography and MRI, beginning at age 30. A health care provider’s referral to screening program is required if under 40 years old. Women ages 40-74 who have a first degree relative with breast cancer (mother, sister, daughter) or who are confirmed to be at high risk for breast cancer (e.g., known BRCA1 or 2 mutation) do not need a health care provider’s referral.

 
 

Manitoba BreastCheck

1-800-903-9290 or 204-788-8000

Age eligible to screen:

50 and over

Targeted age group (women can self-refer):

50 – 74

Frequency:

Once every 2 years for women at average risk

Women 40-49:

Can have a mammogram with a health care provider’s referral, but only at a mobile unit

Women 75 or over:

Can self-refer for mammogram

Mobile services available

 

​High Risk Screening:

Currently no specific screening guidelines or policies exist for high risk women. Speak to a health care provider about your breast cancer risk and screening options.


 

Breast Screening Program for Newfoundland and Labrador

Eastern Health Website

Western Health Website

1-800-414-3443

 

Age eligible to screen:

50 – 74

Targeted age group (women can self-refer):

50 – 74

Frequency:

​Once every 2 years

Women 40-49:

Can have a mammogram with a health care provider's email

Women 74 or over:

​Can continue to screen if already enrolled in the program

For women outside the eligible age, a health care provider’s referral is required

High risk screening:

An initial baseline mammogram is recommended no earlier than age 25, followed by annual screening by mammography and MRI beginning at age 30. A health care provider’s referral is required.


 

New Brunswick Breast Cancer Screening Program

​Age eligible to screen:

​50 – 74

​Targeted age group (women can self-refer):

​50 – 74

​Frequency:

​Once every 2 years

​Women 40-49:

​Can have a mammogram with a health care provider’s referral

​Women 74 or over:

​Can have a mammogram with a health care provider’s referral

 

High risk screening:

Currently no specific screening guidelines or policies exist for high risk women. Speak to a health care provider about your breast cancer risk and screening options

 

 

Northwest Territories Breast Screening Program

1-867-765-4020 (in Yellowknife) or 1-867-874-7223 (in Hay River)

 

​Age eligible to screen (women can self-refer):

​4074

​Targeted age group:

​5074

​Frequency:

​Once every 2 years

​Women 40-49:

Can have a mammogram with a health care provider's referral. Women in this age group are encouraged to speak to ahealth care provider about the benefits and limitations of screening mammography.

​Women 75 or over:

​Eligible to screen, but women in this age group are encouraged to discuss the benefits and limitations of screening mammography with a health care provider

 

High Risk Screening:

Screening guidelines recommend annual screening by mammography and referral to a specialist for additional screening options.  Age not specified. A health care provider’s referral is required

 

 

 

Nova Scotia Breast Screening Program

1-800-565-0548

​Age eligible to screen (women can self-refer):

​40 or over

​Targeted age group:

​40 – 69

​Frequency:

Once every 2 years for women at average risk
Annual for women 40-49 and women at high risk

​Women 70 or over:

​Recommended to continue screening if in good health

​Mobile services available. ​

​High risk screening:

​Annual screening by mammography is recommended beginning at age 40

 

 

Ontario Breast Screening Program

1-800-668-9304

Age eligible to screen (women can self-refer):

​5074

​Frequency:

​Once every 2 years

​Women 40-49:

​Can have a mammogram with a health care provider’s referral. Women in this age group are encouraged to speak to a health care provider about the benefits and limitations of screening mammography

​Women 75 or over:

​Women in this age group no longer receive a reminder letter, but can make their own appointment after speaking to their health care provider

​Mobile services available.

​High Risk Screening:

​Annual screening by mammography and MRI is recommended beginning at age 30. A health care provider’s referral to high risk screening program is required

 

 

Prince Edward Island Breast Screening Program

1-888-592-9888

​Age eligible to screen (women can self-refer):

​4074

​Frequency:

​Annual for women 40-49
Once every 2 years for women 50-74

​Women 74 and over:

​Women in this age group are encouraged to discuss any breast changes with a health care provider and obtain a referral for diagnostic screening

​High risk screening:

​Annual screening by mammography is recommended beginning at age 40

 


 

Québec Breast Cancer Screening Program 

Call your health care provider or regional Program Coordination Centre for information

 

​Age eligible to screen

​35 or over

​Target age group:

50-69

​Frequency:

​Once every 2 years
For women outside the eligible age, a health care provider’s referral is required

​Women 35-49:

​Can have a mammogram with a health care provider’s referral if done at a program screening centre

Women 70 or over:

Can have a mammogram with a health care provider’s referral if done at a program screening centre

​Mobile services available. ​

​High risk screening:

​Currently no specific screening guidelines or policies exist for high risk women. Speak to a health care provider about your breast cancer risk and screening options

 

 

Saskatchewan Screening Program for Breast Cancer

1-855-584-8228

 

Age eligible to screen:

Targeted age group (women can self refer):

​49 – 74

50 - 74

​Frequency:

Once every 2 years​

​Women 49-50:

Can have a mammogram on a mobile unit if turning 50 in the same calendar year

​Women 75 or over:

​Can continue to benefit from regular screening mammograms. Talk to your health care provider about the benefits and limitations of screening mammography.

​Mobile services available. ​

​High risk screening:

​Women age 50 or over confirmed to be at high risk for breast cancer by the screening program or by their health care provider are eligible for annual screening by digital mammography


 

Yukon Mammography Program

1-867-393-8738

Age of eligibility
(women can self-refer):

​40 or over

​Targeted age group:

​5074

​Frequency:

Once every 2 years for women at average risk
Annual for women 40-49 and women at high risk

​Women 40-49:

​A health care provider’s referral is not required. Women in this age group are encouraged to speak to a health care provider about the benefits and limitations of screening mammography

​Women 75 or over:

​Can continue to have a screening mammogram, but women in this age group are encouraged to speak to a health care provider about the benefits and limitations of screening mammography

​High risk screening:

​Currently no specific screening guidelines or policies exist for high risk women. Speak to a health care provider about your breast cancer risk and screening options