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Women at High Risk for Breast Cancer are Benefiting from Cancer Screening Program
New report shows Ontario women are benefiting from screening with MRI and mammography
Posted on 2013/10/02

Women in Ontario with a higher risk of developing breast cancer are seeing their cancers caught earlier, shows a new report from Cancer Care Ontario’s Ontario Breast Screening Program.

The latest report from the Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) includes results from the screening program for women identified as being at high risk for breast cancer.

Since 2011, more than 2,200 women have been screened as part of the high risk program and 35 breast cancers were detected (about 16 cancers per 1,000 women). In comparison, detection rates for the general population average between 3 and 4 cancers per 1,000 women.

“The addition of MRI to routine mammography has proven invaluable in cancer detection for these patients.” says Dr. Derek Muradali, Radiologist in Chief with Cancer Care Ontario. “One of the cornerstones of the program centers on the ability to navigate these women through an often complicated path involving genetic testing, counseling, follow up tests and biopsies. This is the first organized High Risk screening program in the world, and the increased cancer detection rate shows that the model is a successful one. I foresee the program as forming the basis for developing other high risk screening programs internationally.”

Breast cancer is the most common cancer afflicting Canadian women, affecting 1 in 9 women in their lifetime. However, less than 1 per cent of women in the general population are at high risk for breast cancer.  Women are considered to be at high risk for the disease if they meet specific criteria, including being a known gene mutation carrier (e.g., BRCA 1 or BRCA 1). (Go to OBSP Screening for Women at High Risk for a full list of high risk criteria)

Twitter Chat

To help raise awareness of the importance of breast cancer screening, Dr. Muradali will be hosting a live Twitter chat to answer questions about breast cancer screening in Ontario on Tuesday, October 8, 2013. To follow along and ask your questions, tweet your question to @CancerCare_ON with the hashtag #OBSPchat between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m.

Quick Facts:

  • Women confirmed to be at high risk for breast cancer are recommended to have yearly mammograms and breast MRIs between the ages of 30 to 69
  • Women at average risk for breast cancer are recommended to have a mammogram every two years between the ages of 50 to74  
  • The OBSP was launched in 1990; the OBSP high risk screening program began in July 2011
  • Approximately 34,000 women (aged 30 to 69 years) in Ontario are at high risk for breast cancer
  • Genetic assessment (i.e., counselling and testing, if appropriate) is available to women with a referral from a physician, sent either directly to the genetics clinic or via the OBSP for women aged 30 to 69

To find out when you should start screening for cancer, or to encourage friends and family to get themselves checked, visit the Time to Screen Tool .

To find an OBSP site, call 1-800-668-9304 or go to OBSP Screening Site Locations .

About Cancer Care Ontario

Cancer Care Ontario – an Ontario government agency – drives quality and continuous improvement in disease prevention and screening, the delivery of care and the patient experience, for cancer, chronic kidney disease and access to care for key health services. Known for its innovation and results-driven approaches, CCO leads multi-year system planning, contracts for services with hospitals and providers, develops and deploys information systems, establishes guidelines and standards and tracks performance targets to ensure system-wide improvements in cancer, chronic kidney disease and access to care.

For more information, contact:
Tori Gass
Phone: 416-971-9800 x 2532

Last modified: Wed, Oct 02, 2013
cancer care ontario | action cancer ontario   620 University Avenue Toronto Ontario, Canada M5G 2L7   Phone: 416.971.9800 Fax: 416.971.6888

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