Breast screening programs to break new ground

     Unique partnership leverages funds, technology to track and improve
                               health outcomes

HALIFAX, Jan. 18 /CNW/ - The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation - Atlantic announced today a first-of-its-kind partnership between the breast screening programs of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador that yield benefits that could extend to the rest of Canada and beyond. Under the partnership, the screening programs will collaborate on the development of a customized, shared database that will form the foundation of a breast cancer program that tracks women throughout their involvement in screening and diagnosis.

"The database itself is a goldmine of information and an epidemiologist's dream," says Dr. Jennifer Payne, Assistant Professor, Department of Diagnostic Radiology at Dalhousie University. "We're able to watch - in real time - how the program is operating and respond quickly to areas of concern or opportunities for improvement."

As a woman enters the program for screening or diagnosis, her file becomes part of the improved database for that province. The database is used to drive the operations of the program and will:

    - Ensure women are tracked throughout their involvement in the program,
      whether for routine screening or as they move through diagnosis to
      treatment for breast cancer
    - Generate reminder notices to ensure women book their regular mammograms
    - Send updates on women's progress and outcomes to their family doctor
    - Offer personalized and confidential reports to healthcare providers on
      their performance as part of the system
    - Allow instant review and proactive management of wait times and

The information collected will provide insight into:

    - How screening programs are used (age of participants, frequency of
      visits, distance travelled to service)
    - Areas where screening services are underused and participation rates
      could be higher
    - Real-time detection of trends or anomalies in screening and/or
    - How screening is able to detect cancer earlier, allowing for better
      treatment options while reducing the number of cancer deaths

The programs will develop software which can be easily tailored and used for many purposes. This allows the research team to develop a highly customized program for both breast screening and diagnosis.

"When we funded this community health project four years ago, we were fascinated by its potential to improve the screening program," said Nancy Margeson, CEO of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation - Atlantic Region. "With two provinces now agreeing to share in the effort, our investment in the region has already doubled, and the other Atlantic Provinces have also shown interest."

About CBCF

The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) is a national, volunteer-based organization dedicated to creating a future without breast cancer. CBCF works collaboratively to fund, support and advocate for relevant and innovative breast cancer research, education and awareness programs, early diagnosis and effective treatment and a positive quality of life after breast cancer.

SOURCE Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation

For further information: For further information: Angie McAuley, Director, Marketing and Communications, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation-Atlantic, (902) 423-8274,; Sean Lewis, MT&L Public Relations, (902) 425-1860 ext.225,; Theresa Foley, Program Manager, Nova Scotia Breast Screening Program, (902) 473-3956,; Deborah Collins, Media Manager, Breast Screening Program of Newfoundland and Labrador, (709) 777-1339,

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