Canadian Cancer Society empowers women to strike up conversations about mammograms

New survey shows that 62% of women in Ontario don't know when to get screened for breast cancer

TORONTO, Oct. 2, 2013 /CNW/ - A new movement is being launched by the Canadian Cancer Society in Ontario, which is bringing women face-to-face to talk about the importance of getting regular mammograms. The Canadian Cancer Society's Women to Women campaign is empowering women to care for one another by spreading the message that mammograms save lives.

The Canadian Cancer Society recommends that women aged 50 to 69 should be getting a mammogram every two years. Alarmingly, a new poll from the Canadian Cancer Society found that 62 per cent of women in Ontario don't know when to start getting regular mammograms.

While breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths among women, as many as 39 per cent of Ontario women aged 50-69 don't get screened for breast cancer regularly. In fact, the survey also revealed that nearly half (47 per cent) of women do not know that a mammogram is the best way to screen for breast cancer.

"It's clear that women need to know more about the importance of mammograms, and they need to get talking," says the Honourable Deb Matthews, Minster of Health and Long-Term Care. "Women to Women is a unique initiative that will mobilize women across the province to take their health into their own hands and detect breast cancer earlier.  Studies show early detection saves lives and the Ontario Government supports this through the Ontario Breast Screening Program."

When it comes to making health decisions, the poll found that close to four out 1of five women say that aside from their doctor, their girlfriends influence their actions the most.

"We know that mammograms are the most reliable way to find breast cancer early. We also know that women confide in each other and talk about their health.  Women to Women gives them a chance to weave a lifesaving message into those intimate conversations," says Rowena Pinto, Vice President, Public Affairs and Strategic Initiatives from Canadian Cancer Society.

Advances in early detection and improved treatment are the cornerstone of improved survival rates for breast cancer.  By getting regular mammograms, cancer is found when it is very small, on average the size of an apple seed and at an earlier stage when it is most treatable.

Women to Women ambassador, Brenda North, knows first-hand about the power of peer influence and the consequence of not getting screened regularly starting at age 50.

"I waited until my daughter and partner urged me to get checked before getting a mammogram at 52. By then, I already had a large tumour and stage 3 breast cancer," says the breast cancer survivor.

North believes that this conversation saved her life and so she's now doing her part to spread the word that mammograms save lives.

"As a breast cancer survivor, I am proud to be among the hundreds of women in Ontario who have signed up to be Women to Women ambassadors," she says.  "I'm sharing my story in the hopes that it inspires other women to get screened."

Women to Women will see hundreds of Ontario women, like Brenda North, become lifesaving ambassadors who are spreading the message that mammograms save lives to their sisters, mothers and girlfriends. The fact that nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of Ontario women know someone who had or has breast cancer, increases the need for women to be proactive and join the movement.

Women in Ontario can join the movement by registering at cancer.ca/womentowomen. Once registered, ambassadors will receive: 11 Thingamaboob key chains - one to keep and ten to give to others while having conversations about the importance of mammograms; tools to share the message online through e-mail and social media; and a personal fundraising page to raise funds for essential breast cancer research.

About Breast Cancer
One in four cancer diagnoses is breast cancer. In 2013 alone, 9,300 Ontario women are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer2 and 1,950 women will die from it.3 Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women.4 Early detection helps fight breast cancer and thanks to scientific advances, we now know that regular mammograms are the most reliable way to find breast cancer when it's most treatable.

Breast Cancer Screening in Ontario
The Canadian Cancer Society recommends women aged 50-69 have a mammogram every two years by either getting a referral from their doctor, or calling the Ontario Breast Screening Program directly at 1-800-668-9304 to make an appointment.

Research Methodology
The online poll was conducted by Environics Research Group from August 13th to 16th, 2013. It was completed with a sample of 807 female respondents from Ontario, aged 18 years or older.  A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of ±3.5 per cent per cent, 19 times out of 20.

About the Canadian Cancer Society
The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website, www.cancer.ca or call toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1-888-939-3333.

Notes to Editors
Interviews are available with Women to Women Ambassadors / breast cancer survivors as well as Canadian Cancer Society representatives in Toronto, Thunder Bay, Sudbury, London and Ottawa who can talk about the importance of breast cancer screening and the new Women to Women movement.


1 Cancer Quality Council. Breast Cancer Screening Participation. Available at: http://www.csqi.on.ca/cms/one.aspx?portalId=258922&pageId=273161
2 Canadian Cancer Society's Advisory Committee on Cancer Statistics. Canadian Cancer Statistics 2013. Toronto, ON: Canadian Cancer Society; 2013. Pg. 33
3 Canadian Cancer Society's Advisory Committee on Cancer Statistics. Canadian Cancer Statistics 2013. Toronto, ON: Canadian Cancer Society; 2013. Pg. 54
4 Canadian Cancer Society's Advisory Committee on Cancer Statistics. Canadian Cancer Statistics 2013. Toronto, ON: Canadian Cancer Society; 2013. Pg. 36


Image with caption: "Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Health Minister Deb Matthews help kick off the Canadian Cancer Society's new Women to Women movement that empowers women to spread the message that mammograms save lives alongside Women to Women ambassadors and CCS staff at Queen's Park on October 1. (CNW Group/Canadian Cancer Society (Ontario Division))". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131002_C6463_PHOTO_EN_31588.jpg

Image with caption: "Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Health Minister Deb Matthews learn about the importance of regular mammograms from breast cancer survivor and Women to Women ambassador Janice Hodgson to launch the Canadian Cancer Society's new Women to Women movement at Queen's Park on October 1. (CNW Group/Canadian Cancer Society (Ontario Division))". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131002_C6463_PHOTO_EN_31589.jpg

Image with caption: "Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Health Minister Deb Matthews receive a Thing-a-ma-boob key chain from breast cancer survivors and Women to Women ambassadors Ruth Ackerman (left) and Janice Hodgson to kick off the Canadian Cancer Society's new Women to Women movement at Queen's Park on October 1. (CNW Group/Canadian Cancer Society (Ontario Division))". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131002_C6463_PHOTO_EN_31591.jpg

SOURCE: Canadian Cancer Society (Ontario Division)

For further information:

Angeline Mau
Canadian Cancer Society
Tel: 416-323-7117
E-mail: amau@ontario.cancer.ca

Julia Dyck
Environics Communications
Tel: 416-969-2787
E-mail: jdyck@environicspr.com

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Canadian Cancer Society (Ontario Division)

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