Breast Cancer Screening
Toronto and Mississauga - Ontario Breast Cancer Screening at Insight Diagnostic Imaging
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women. Approximately 13% of women are at risk of breast cancer at some point in their lives. It is important for women to be aware of both the risk of breast cancer and the benefits of breast cancer screening in order to reduce their chances of developing this form of cancer.
High-quality breast cancer screening in Ontario can help detect the presence of breast cancer at an early stage. Breast cancer screening generally starts with a mammogram and then, if requested by a physician, a breast ultrasound and possible breast magnetic resonance image (MRI).
Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP)
The Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) was created to reduce the incidence and mortality of breast cancer in women by providing necessary screenings. The OBSP ensures that all women in Ontario are able to access breast screening without even visiting a family physician.
Do I need a referral for mammogram in Ontario?
No, if you are 40 or over (50 or over until fall 2024), you do not need a referral to participate in the OBSP.
Mammography is the most commonly used technique for early detection and diagnosis in breast cancer patients. Regular screenings are recommended in order to take quick action for detection as well as early treatment. Through mammography, changes in structures, such as lumps or abnormal growths, can be observed and diagnosed properly.
By getting tested regularly with mammography, women can significantly increase their chances for successful treatment should they suffer from this terrible disease.
Age for Screening
Until recently, the program has encouraged eligible women aged 50-74 to get a mammogram every two years to detect any early signs of breast cancer. As of the fall of 2024, all women aged 40 and up are eligible for the Ontario Breast Screening Program or OBSP.
High Risk for Breast Cancer
Those considered high risk for breast cancer, which includes those with a family history of the disease and women over 40, are able to receive an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) in addition to a mammogram every year if they meet certain criteria.
Benefits of Breast Cancer Screening
Early detection of breast cancer can be a major factor in reducing the risk of death from this disease. Maintaining regular screenings and mammograms is an important step for any woman concerned with her health, especially if you have a family history, as it can detect cancers while still in their initial stages, increasing the chances of successful treatment. The biggest risk factor for breast cancer is being a woman: Over 75% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no known risk factors.
When breast cancer is found early, most people will survive for at least five years. However, if breast cancer is found later, only 3 out of 10 people will survive for at least five years (cancercareontario.ca).
Moreover, when breast cancer is detected earlier on, prognosis and treatments are more likely to be effective since they have not had much time to spread throughout the body.
How Effective are Screening Mammograms?
Mammograms are a crucial tool for the early detection of breast cancer, which is vitally important for successful treatment.
According to the Canadian Society of Breast Imaging, a woman's risk for breast cancer should be assessed by age 25-30 to determine if early screening is appropriate (mybreastscreening.ca).
When found early, many people survive breast cancer, with a 100 percent, five-year relative survival rate for those diagnosed at stage 1 (news.ontario.ca).
Women aged 40-49 who have mammograms are 44% less likely to die of breast cancer than women who do not have mammograms, and women aged 50-74 who have mammograms are 40% less likely to die of breast cancer than women who do not have mammograms (mybreastscreening.ca).
Overall, mammograms remain one of the most effective tools for detecting breast cancer early on. It is recommended that all women over 40 get a yearly mammogram - or earlier if they have any concerning risk factors such as a family history of breast cancer - as this could significantly reduce the incidences of late-stage diagnosis and can improve prognosis and outcomes when combined with other forms of treatment or therapies. In Ontario, mammograms are covered by OHIP, so there is no cost to you, and under OBSP, you don't need a referral from your primary care provider.
How Can I Get a Mammogram in Ontario?
If you are 50 or over, you do not need a doctor's referral for a breast mammogram. Just call or visit your local mammography clinic. It's as simple as that. Neither referral from your primary care provider nor requisition is required. As of fall 2024, Cancer Care Ontario has announced that all women aged 40 and over are eligible for a mammogram without a referral or requisition (see "Ontario Connecting More Women to Breast Cancer Screening Earlier").
Where Can I Get a Mammogram?
You can visit cancercareontario.ca to find an OBSP centre near you or visit one of two Insight Diagnostic Imaging clinics, both of which are OBSP centres. Call us today for your screening appointment.
How Do I Prepare for a Mammogram?
1. It is recommended to schedule a mammogram around one week after your menstrual period. This is when breasts are less tender, making the procedure more comfortable.
2. Gather necessary documents: Before your appointment, make sure to bring your health card.
3. When dressing for a mammogram, it is best to wear a two-piece outfit, as you will need to undress from the waist up. Avoid wearing deodorant, lotions, or powders on your chest area, as these products can interfere with the results.
By following these simple steps, you will ensure a smooth and productive mammogram appointment. Remember, early detection is key in the fight against breast cancer, so it is important to stay up to date with regular screenings.
Toronto Ontario Breast Screening Clinic:
Central Toronto Diagnostic Imaging
658 Danforth Avenue, Toronto, ON M4J 5B9