HHH: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Health Hints

With Material from Cancer Care Ontario

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Cancer Care Ontario is encouraging women ages 50 to 54 to talk to their healthcare providers about getting a mammogram screening. It is estimated that about 10,100 Ontario women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and about 1,900 women will die of the disease in 2017 (Canadian Cancer Statistics, 2017).

Five Things You May Not Know About Breast Cancer

1. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in Ontario women. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Breast cancer happens mostly in women ages 50 to 74 (61 percent of cases). Regular breast cancer screening is important because it can find cancer early, when it may be smaller and easier to treat.

2. Limiting alcohol can reduce your risk. A healthy lifestyle, including limiting alcohol, can reduce your risk of breast cancer. Other factors that may lower a woman’s chance of getting breast cancer are not smoking or using tobacco products, having a healthy body weight, and being physically fit.

3. Breast cancer has one of the highest survival rates out of all of the cancers in Ontario. Studies show that regular mammograms lower the risk of dying from breast cancer in women ages 50 to 74. Deaths from breast cancer in the Ontario population went down by about 42 percent for women ages 50 to 74 from 1990 to 2012. This decrease in deaths is probably due to breast cancer treatment getting better and also, women getting screened with mammograms.

4. More than 35,000 breast cancers have been found by the Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) through mammography, most of which were in early stages. As of July 2016, over 1.7 million women ages 50 to 74 had a mammogram through the OBSP, resulting in more than 6.8 million mammograms completed. The OBSP recommends that most women ages 50 to 74 be screened every two years with mammography. Regular screening reduces the chance of missing a breast cancer.

5. Changes in the breast are not always signs of cancer. All women – regardless of age or risk factors – should be breast aware. This means knowing how your breasts normally look and feel so you can tell if there are changes.

Where can I get a Breast Screening?

Visit Cancer Care Ontario (https://www.cancercare.on.ca/) to find your closest clinic and for more information about Ontario Breast Screening Program. You can also call 1-800-668-9304 to book your mammogram.