Where To Get Screened
Women ages 50 to 74 can call the nearest Ontario Breast Screening Program location to make an appointment .
Women in the North West and Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant regions may be eligible for screening in one of our mobile screening coaches.
If you think you may be at high risk for breast cancer, talk to your doctor about a referral to the High Risk Ontario Breast Screening Program based on family or medical history.
If You Have A Normal Result
You will receive a letter to let you know your mammogram does not show any signs of cancer. Your next screening appointment will be in 3 years time. Do contact your GP or local screening unit if you havent received an appointment and think you are due one.
It is important to see your GP If you notice any symptoms between your screening mammograms.
Can I Rely On Breast Self
Mammography can detect tumors before they can be felt, so screening is key for early detection. But when combined with regular medical care and appropriate guideline-recommended mammography, breast self-exams can help women know what is normal for them so they can report any changes to their healthcare provider.If you find a lump, schedule an appointment with your doctor, but dont panic 8 out of 10 lumps are not cancerous. For additional peace of mind, call your doctor whenever you have concerns.
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Benefits Of Mammographic Screening
The ACS systematic review also examined the effect of screening mammography on life expectancy. Although the review concluded that there was high-quality evidence that mammographic screening increases life expectancy by decreasing breast cancer mortality, the authors were not able to estimate the size of the increase 23.
What Are The Warning Signs Of Breast Cancer
While different people have different symptoms of breast cancerand some dont have any at allwarning signs of breast cancer include new lumps in the breast and armpit, swelling of the breast, redness or pain in the nipple region, or change in the breast size.
Remember that some of these symptoms are associated with other conditions that arent cancer.
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Increased Breast Cancer Risk
Some women have an increased risk of developing breast cancer. Having an increased risk doesnt mean that you will get cancer, but they must receive more frequent testing. Aging only adds to the increased risk. Risk factors for breast cancer include:
- Carrying a related genetic mutation
- Lobular carcinoma history
- Strong family history of breast cancer
- Having received radiation treatment to the chest
- Having had breast cancer already
Contact us if you believe you may be at an increased risk of breast cancer. We can offer personalized support and recommendations for your testing protocol. Women who have a high risk of breast cancer should begin mammogram testing before age 40. These women may also need an MRI in combination with mammograms.
Benefits Of Breast Screening
Breast cancers found by screening are generally at an early stage. Very early breast cancers are usually easier to treat, may need less treatment, and are more likely to be cured.
The current evidence suggests that breast screening reduces the number of deaths from breast cancer by about 1,300 a year in the UK.
Almost all women diagnosed with breast cancer at the earliest possible stage survive for at least 5 years after diagnosis and are likely to be cured.
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What Is A Normal Breast
No breast is typical. What is normal for you may not be normal for another woman. Most women say their breasts feel lumpy or uneven. The way your breasts look and feel can be affected by getting your period, having children, losing or gaining weight, and taking certain medications. Breasts also tend to change as you age. For more information, see the National Cancer Institutes Breast Changes and Conditions.external icon
Breast Cancer Screening Saves Lives
Screening tests can find breast cancer early, when the chances of survival are highest. Getting screened regularly means your doctor is likely to know sooner if theres a problem, so you can get effective treatment as early as possible. There are more than 3.5 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. todaymore than any other group of cancer survivorslargely thanks to advances in screening and treatment.
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General Considerations For Screening
The goal of screening for cancer is to detect preclinical disease in healthy, asymptomatic patients to prevent adverse outcomes, improve survival, and avoid the need for more intensive treatments. Screening tests have both benefits and adverse consequences .
Breast self-examination, breast self-awareness, clinical breast examination, and mammography all have been used alone or in combination to screen for breast cancer. In general, more intensive screening detects more disease. Screening intensity can be increased by combining multiple screening methods, extending screening over a wider age range, or repeating the screening test more frequently. However, more frequent use of the same screening test typically is associated with diminishing returns and an increased rate of screening-related harms. Determining the appropriate combination of screening methods, the age to start screening, the age to stop screening, and how frequently to repeat the screening tests require finding the appropriate balance of benefits and harms. Determining this balance can be difficult because some issues, particularly the importance of harms, are subjective and valued differently from patient to patient. This balance can depend on other factors, particularly the characteristics of the screening tests in different populations and at different ages.
What Does A Lump In Your Breast Feel Like
A new lump is one of the most common signs of breast cancer. Lumps that are breast cancers can vary. For example, they may be painless or painful. Lumps can also be a sign of a benign breast condition. However, if you have found a new lump or breast change, it is important to see your doctor so that it can be checked by a health professional.
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Understand Your Family History
Talk with your family members about cancer on both sides of your family.
- If your mother or sister has had breast or ovarian cancer before the age of 50, its recommended you get screened annually with mammogram and ultrasound, from 10 years prior to their age at diagnosis, but not earlier than 30 years of age.
- Women at potentially high risk of breast cancer should be referred to a breast specialist for advice on appropriate screening
- High-risk screening may also include breast MRIs.
While the risk of inherited breast cancer is low, talk about it with your doctor. If you are potentially at high risk, you may be eligible for genetic testing with Genetic Health Service NZ. This assessment would require a referral from your doctor.
What Should I Look Out For
When we think about breast cancer signs, most of us probably picture a lump in the breast. But in fact, breast cancer may present in a number of different ways.
As well as a lump, you need to look out for a red area in the nipple, a change in the nipple’s position or turning in of a nipple that previously pointed out, a rash, an indentation, a thickening or a bumpy area,” explains Cooper. “You may also notice a change in the feel or outline of the breast, or experience nipple discharge or bleeding.”
“One of the more unusual symptoms is a red or inflamed breast which may be a sign of inflammatory breast cancer which is quite rare but can be quite aggressive,” adds Hughes.
It’s also important to be aware that breast tissue reaches further than you might imagine.
“Breast tissue extends into your armpits and as high as your collarbone,” explains Hughes. “So make sure you check in these areas.”
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Checking For Breast Cancer
Cancer is a terrifying word that makes everyone uneasy. Breast cancer claims more than 40,000 lives each year. Its easy to ignore any symptoms that you may be experiencing and chalk it up to aging, but a breast cancer screening could be imperative to treatment and a better chance of success.
Cancer Screening Guidelines By Age
The choices you make about diet, exercise, and other habits can affect your overall health as well as your risk for developing cancer and other serious diseases.
Its also important to follow recommendations for cancer screening tests. Screening tests are used to find cancer in people who have no symptoms. Regular screening gives you the best chance of finding cancer early when its small and before it has spread.
Health care facilities are providing cancer screening during the COVID-19 pandemic with many safety precautions in place. Learn how you can talk to your doctor and what steps you can take to plan, schedule, and get your regular cancer screenings in Cancer Screening During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The tabs below provide information on healthy lifestyle choices that can help lower your cancer risk, and cancer screening test recommendations by age.
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Place Your Hands On Your Hip
Strip to the waist and stand before a mirror. You will need to see both breasts at the same time. Stand with your hands on your hips and check the overall appearance of your breasts.
Look at the size, shape, and contour.
Note changes, if any, in the color or texture of the skin on your breasts as well as on your nipples and areolas.
Get To And Stay At A Healthy Weight
Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for many types of cancer. You can control your weight with the choices you make about healthy eating and exercise:- Avoiding excessive weight gain throughout life- Balance the calories you take in with the amount of physical activity you do
If you are overweight, try to get to a healthy weight and stay there. Losing even a small amount of weight has health benefits and is a good place to start. Watching your portion sizes is an important part of weight control especially for foods high in fat and sugar. Low-fat and fat-free doesnt always mean low-calorie, so read labels and try to eat vegetables, fruits, and whole grains in the place of higher-calorie foods.
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When Should I Start Checking For Breast Cancer
All women are at risk from Breast Cancer, which affects one in eight women in the world today. Many risk factors are things that you have no or little control over, such as your family history or your race.
It is important to remember that three-quarters of women who get Breast Cancer were not at increased risk, and we dont fully understand why different women get cancer yet. Even if you have all these risk factors, it only highlights the need to be careful and check your breasts regularly. It does not mean you are going to get Breast Cancer.
So what are the risk factors for Breast Cancer and how can you deal with them? You can separate risk factors into three groups:
How To Make Breast Self
Make it routine. The more you examine your breasts, the more you will learn about them and the easier it will become for you to tell if something has changed. Try to get in the habit of doing a breast self-examination once a month to familiarize yourself with how your breasts normally look and feel. Examine yourself several days after your period ends, when your breasts are least likely to be swollen and tender. If you are no longer having periods, choose a day that’s easy to remember, such as the first or last day of the month.
Get to know your breasts’ different neighborhoods. The upper, outer area near your armpit tends to have the most prominent lumps and bumps. The lower half of your breast can feel like a sandy or pebbly beach. The area under the nipple can feel like a collection of large grains. Another part might feel like a lumpy bowl of oatmeal.
Start a journal where you record the findings of your breast self-exams. This can be like a small map of your breasts, with notes about where you feel lumps or irregularities. Especially in the beginning, this may help you remember, from month to month, what is normal for your breasts. It is not unusual for lumps to appear at certain times of the month, but then disappear, as your body changes with the menstrual cycle .
Learn more about Breastcancer.org’s recommendations on when to begin annual mammograms.
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Should I Go For Breast Screening
Its important that you have access to enough information about the benefits and harms of breast screening to make the decision.
You can talk to your own doctor or nurse. Or you can contact the Cancer Research UK nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040. The lines are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
When Will I Be Offered Breast Screening
You will become eligible for breast screening once you reach the age of 50.
Your first invitation will depend on when screening is available in your area. This is normally within 2 years of your 50th birthday.
But due to COVID-19 some people’s invitations for screening have been delayed by up to a year. You may be 53 when you get your first invitation.
If you were due to be screened in 2020, we aimed to invite you in 2021. If you were due to be screened in 2021, we will now aim to invite you in 2022.
Your details should automatically be on our register. You can check that your name is on the register or update your details.
Check your name is on the register or Freephone
The risk of breast cancer increases as you get older, all women between the ages of 50 and 69 are invited to take a mammogram every 2 years.
The incidence and mortality from breast cancer in this age group means that it is effective to screen women between the ages of 50 and 69.
Appointments in this screening round are delayed by up to a year. Read about breast screening and COVID-19
You will remain eligible for breast screening up to the age of 69. After this, you need to continue to be aware of any symptoms of breast cancer.
You should speak to your GP if you’re worried about symptoms of breast cancer. Screening is only for women who appear healthy or have no symptoms.
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How Can I Detect My Breast Cancer Early
The best way for young women to find breast cancer early is to be breast self-aware. Become familiar with your breasts: their shape, size and what they feel like. Learn what is normal for you. Sometimes your breasts may change throughout your monthly cycle. If you are pregnant or nursing, your breasts will change even more dramatically. If you find anything unusual, see your doctor immediately and insist on a diagnosis. In general, women should have a yearly clinical breast examination by a doctor beginning at age 20 and start having annual mammograms beginning at age 45.
What Should I Do If I Find A Lump
Donât panic. It could be many things other than cancer. But do check in with your doctorâs office if you notice any new breast changes, such as:
- An area that is different from any other area on either breast
- A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm that lasts through your menstrual cycle
- A change in the size, shape, or contour of the breast
- A mass or lump
- A marble-like area under the skin
- A change in the feel or appearance of the skin on the breast or nipple
- Bloody or clear fluid discharge from the nipples
- Redness of the skin on the breast or nipple
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What Changes Am I Looking For
Always consult a doctor if you notice any of the following changes:
- A new lump, bumpy area, swelling or thickening in one breast or armpit thats different to the same area on the other side
- A change in the size, outline or shape of your breast
- A change in the look or feel of your skin, such as puckering or dimpling
- Nipple discharge
- Bleeding from your nipple
- A rash or redness on or around the nipple area or a sore that doesnt heal
- Any change in the position of the nipple eg: becomes inverted, or is pointing differently
- Any new discomfort or pain in the breast
Checking your breasts for lumps monthly will help you to become aware of how they look and feel, says Dr Rosen. Its perfectly normal, for example, to have one breast thats slightly bigger than the other. Most women have slightly asymmetrical breasts. What youre looking for is anything thats not normal for you. This means any changes and symptoms that werent there before.
Why Do Some Women Get A Letter About Breast Cancer Screening
Breast cancer screening is so important that Cancer Care Ontario, an agency of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, sends letters to eligible women to invite them to have a mammogram. Women also get letters that tell them their screening results and remind them when it is time to return for screening. It is your choice to be screened or not.
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