Cancer Care Ontario is Inviting Eligible Women to Get Screened for Early Signs of Breast Cancer

Booking a mammogram takes just five minutes and could save your life

TORONTO, Oct. 1, 2015 /CNW/ - October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Cancer Care Ontario, in partnership with its Regional Cancer Programs, is inviting women aged 50 to 54 to 'Just Book It' by scheduling a mammogram appointment today. Breast cancer screening is available for women aged 50 to 74, but the 50 to 54 age group has the largest number of screen-eligible women who have not yet had a mammogram.

In 2015, an estimated 9,800 Ontario women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 1,900 women will die of the disease. The average mammogram screening takes just five minutes to book and less than 10 minutes to complete.

"Breast cancer is the most common cancer in Canadian women with one in nine women expected to be diagnosed with it in their lifetime," said Dr. Linda Rabeneck, Vice President, Prevention and Cancer Control at Cancer Care Ontario. "Early detection of breast cancer through mammogram screenings means there's a better chance of treating it successfully. That is why we are inviting eligible women aged 50 to 54 to start screening sooner rather than later."

To increase screening participation, Cancer Care Ontario has chosen Oct. 21 as the provincial Day of the Mammogram, but eligible women are encouraged to book a mammogram at any time by calling 1-800-668-9304. No referral from a doctor is required.

A mammogram is a special X-ray machine that takes a picture of the breast and detects any changes that have occurred, even those too small for the average person to feel or see. In 2014, Cancer Care Ontario began sending letters to eligible women inviting them to book their mammogram. After their initial mammogram, eligible women will continue to receive letters from Cancer Care Ontario to remind them when they are due back for their next screening.

"A key part of our government's Patients First strategy is to support people and patients by providing the education and information they need to make the right decisions about their health," said Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. "Regular screening can help detect pre-cancerous changes or cancer at an early stage, and for average-risk women aged 50 to 74, breast cancer screening is free of charge through the Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP)."

The following groups of women are eligible for a mammogram through the OBSP:

  • Women aged 50 to 74 years who are at average risk for breast cancer. Women are considered eligible for the average risk program if they show no signs of acute breast cancer symptoms, have no personal history of breast cancer, have no current breast implants and have not had a mammogram within the last 11 months. It is recommended that eligible women in this age group should get screened every two years.
  • Women aged 30 to 69 years who are identified as being at high risk for breast cancer. Starting at age 30, women who may be at high risk for breast cancer can be referred by their healthcare provider to Ontario's High Risk Breast Screening Program based on their family or medical history.

Eligible women can schedule their mammogram appointments at any OBSP site. For more information about OBSP or to find an OBSP site, call 1-800-668-9304 or visit

Follow Cancer Care Ontario on Twitter and Facebook and join the conversation using the hashtag #JustBookIt.

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 and chronic kidney disease patients. 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 and chronic kidney disease care.

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SOURCE Cancer Care Ontario

For further information: Cancer Care Ontario, Phone: 1.855.460.2646, Email:


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