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Cancer Screening & Prevention
Breast Cancer Screening

Overview of Breast Cancer Screening

  • Breast Cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death in women and the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Durham Region women.
  • The risk of developing breast cancer increases with age, with the average Ontario woman having a 1 in 9 chance of developing breast cancer in her lifetime.
  • 80% of breast cancers are found in women aged 50 and over.
  • The two biggest risk factors for breast cancer are being a woman and increasing age.
  • Close to 90% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease.
  • There is no known way to prevent breast cancer; therefore, early detection of breast cancer is important.


What is cancer screening?

  • Cancer screening is testing that looks for cancer. Screening helps doctors find cancer early when it is easier to treat or cure. Cancer screening should be done when you are healthy and have no symptoms.

What is breast cancer screening?

Breast screening is the regular examination of a woman’s breasts to find breast cancer early. A breast X-ray (mammogram) is the best screening tool.  A mammogram is a low dose X-ray of the breasts. This X-ray can find changes even when they are too small to feel or see.

A mammogram can display the simple, low dose x-ray image on film or, with digital mammography; the picture is displayed on a computer screen. Digital mammography is more effective for women under the age of 50 or for women of any age with dense breasts.

Who needs breast cancer screening

  • Women 40 - 49 years old: Discuss mammography with your doctor.
  • Women 50 and over: Mammogram every 2 years or as often as your doctor recommends.
  • All women:
    • Know how your breasts normally look and feel.
    • Know what breast changes to look for, such as:
      • a lump or dimpling,
      • changes in your nipple or fluid leaking from the nipple,
      • skin changes or redness that do not go away,
      • any other changes in your breasts
    • If you notice any breast changes, see your healthcare provider. Most changes are not cancerous but you should have them checked right away.

Why should I have my breasts screened?

  • A mammogram can find breast cancer when it is very small, 2 to 3 years before it can be felt.
  • Cancers that are detected in the early stages have a higher chance of successful treatment.
  • Mammograms are effective.

How will it feel?

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  • A mammogram may feel uncomfortable since, to get a clear picture, the breast is compressed between two special plates. This takes only a few seconds while the x-ray picture is being taken.

What is the Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP)?


Screening  Mammograms What Every Woman Should Know
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  • The Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) is an organized provincial program that delivers high quality breast screening to women 50 years and over.  OBSP sites are free of charge and offer a friendly, comfortable environment for women with female technologists.

Who can go to the OBSP?

Ontario women age 50 and older who:

  • Have no personal history of breast cancer
  • Have not had a mammogram within the past year
  • Have no current breast implants
  • Have no acute breast symptoms

What happens at the OBSP?

  • A mammogram is done by a registered radiology technologist who specializes in mammography.

What are the benefits of the OBSP

  • You can make your own appointment or have your health care provider make the appointment.
  • The results are sent to your home and your health care provider’s office.
  • You will receive a reminder every 2 years to book your next appointment.

Where Can I Get a Mammogram in Durham Region?


What can you do to decrease your risk?

Reduce your risk by being screened and:


For more information call Durham Health Connection Line
905-666-6241 or 1-800-841-2729