By Laura McDonald
Every year, approximately 12,000 Ontario women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 2,000 will die from it. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in Ontario, but more people in Ontario survive breast cancer than almost every other cancer.
In this article, you will find some information on how you can protect yourself from breast cancer. In honour of Mother’s Day, we encourage you to share this article with a loved one in your life.
Get Screened for Breast Cancer:
Regular screening with mammography is important because it can find breast cancer early; this is when treatment has a better chance of working.
The Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) checks two different groups of people in Ontario for breast cancer: those at average risk and those at high risk. The OBSP recommends that:
- Most people ages 50 to 74 who are eligible for the OBSP get checked every two years with a mammogram.
- People ages 30 to 69 who meet the High-Risk get checked once a year with both a mammogram and breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
- If you are 30 to 69 years old and think you may be at high risk of getting breast cancer based on your personal or family history, talk to your family doctor.
Eligible people ages 50 to 74 can contact the nearest OBSP location to book a mammogram appointment (a doctor’s referral is not needed). To find an OBSP location near you, click here or call 1-800-668-9304.
If someone has an abnormal breast screening result, more tests will be needed. Most people with abnormal mammograms do not have breast cancer. Be sure to go for any follow-up tests and appointments that are booked for you.
For more information, visit www.cancercareontario.ca/bcam
Be Breast Aware:
This means knowing how your breasts normally look and feel. Regardless of your age, if you notice any changes with your breasts or have concerns, see your family doctor or nurse practitioner. Most changes are not cancer, but they should be checked right away.
Talk to your doctor if you notice any of the following:
- A lump or dimpling on the breast
- Changes in the nipple or fluid coming from the nipple
- Redness or skin changes that do not go away
- Any other changes in the breasts
Lower your risk of developing breast cancer by doing the following:
- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink
- Have a healthy body weight
- Be physically active
- Do not smoke and avoid second-hand smoke
- Talk to your family doctor or nurse practitioner about your personal and family health history
Learn more about your breast cancer risk and how to reduce your risk at My CancerIQ.