Canadian Cancer Society calls on women to join the movement in Toronto to increase breast screening rates



    50,000 women aged 50-69 in Toronto not getting life-saving mammograms

    TORONTO, June 3 /CNW/ - To increase breast screening rates in Toronto,
the Canadian Cancer Society calls on women 50-69 who are of average risk to
join the Thingamaboob 'Pass it on' movement by committing to get a mammogram
every two years and to pass on this message.
    Regular mammograms are the most reliable way to find breast cancer when
it's most treatable. In Toronto, only about 60% of women aged 50-69 are
getting regular mammograms - that means approximately 50,000 women are not.
    Made of pretty pink beads, the Thingamaboob shows women the various sized
lumps that can be detected through regular mammograms, a first mammogram, a
physical exam by a healthcare professional and checking your breasts. Regular
mammography is the method that finds the smallest lump - about the size of an
apple seed - while the average size lump found by women checking their breasts
is the approximate size of a cherry tomato. While not every lump is cancerous,
a woman's risk of getting breast cancer increases after the age of 50.
    "We're starting a movement between all women, regardless of their age, by
asking them to use the Thingamaboob to get the conversation started with their
friends and family and pass on this important message," says Rowena Pinto,
Senior Director, Public Affairs, Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division.
"By doing so, individuals can have a direct impact on the breast cancer fight
as more women will think about going for mammograms and more lives will be
saved."

    
    How women can join the Thingamaboob 'Pass it on' movement:

    -  If you're a woman 50-69 of average risk commit to getting a mammogram
       every two years. Talk to your healthcare professional or call the
       Ontario Breast Screening Program at 1 800 668-9304. It's that simple!
    -  Purchase a Thingamaboob for yourself and for the women in your life
       for just $10 at www.thingamaboob.ca. Money raised helps fund leading-
       edge cancer research, provide support and information services,
       advocate for healthy public policies and promote healthy lifestyles to
       help reduce cancer risk.
    -  Inspire other women to take action by passing on the Thingamaboob
       message through a light-hearted comic strip e-greeting at
       www.thingamboob.ca.
    -  Join the Thingamaboob page on Facebook - if you're a woman 50-69 of
       average risk make a pledge to get a mammogram every two years.
    

    "When I show the Thingamaboob to the women in my life, it typically
prompts an 'ah ha!' moment because they can see and feel just how effective
regular mammography is. The Thingamaboob is a great tool to get the
conversation started between friends and loved ones about a topic that not
everyone may feel comfortable discussing," adds Pinto.
    For women 50 or older, it's easy to get a mammogram in Ontario. Women
should talk to their healthcare professionals or call the Ontario Breast
Screening Program directly at 1 800 668-9304 to make their own appointment.
It's that simple.

    Early detection and screening for breast cancer for women of average risk

    No matter what age, the Society encourages women to become familiar with
their breasts and talk to their healthcare professional if they notice any
changes. The Society recommends the following breast cancer screening
guidelines:

    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    If you are:  You should:
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    40 to 49     Have a clinical breast examination by a trained healthcare
                 professional at least every 2 years.

                 Talk to your doctor about your risk of breast cancer, along
                 with the benefits and risks of mammography.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    50 to 69     Have a clinical breast examination by a trained healthcare
                 professional at least every 2 years.

                 Have a mammogram every 2 years.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    70 or older  Talk to your doctor about how often you should be tested for
                 breast cancer.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    

    Most women are at average risk, and most women who develop breast cancer
have no risk factors other than simply being a woman and getting older
(especially being over 50). If you are concerned that you may be at higher
risk (e.g. you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer), talk to
your doctor.

    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 our toll-free, bilingual
Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.




For further information:

For further information: Nina Kalos, Hill and Knowlton,
nina.kalos@hillandknowlton.ca, (416) 413-4642; Miguel Pacheco, Hill and
Knowlton, miguel.pacheco@hillandknowlton.ca, (416) 413-4694

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Canadian Cancer Society (Ontario Division)

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