October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Niagara Health is urging anyone who is due or overdue for breast screening to schedule an appointment. Women aged 50 to 74 who are at average risk for breast cancer can schedule a mammogram (without a doctor’s referral) every two years through the Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP).
Niagara Health has seen a decline in mammography screening during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, there were approximately 50% fewer breast screening tests done at Niagara Health compared to 2019 (8,155 last year as compared to 15,857 the previous year).
“The screening program at Niagara Health is back to full capacity, and we are seeing more people booking appointments,” says Dr. Julian Dobranowski, Chief of Diagnostic Imaging at Niagara Health. “While we are headed in the right direction, there are still people who are due or overdue for regular mammography screening who I encourage to reach out for an appointment.”
“One in eight women will get breast cancer in her lifetime. However, breast cancer has one of the highest survival rates, which is why early detection is so important. If you are not already part of the OBSP, please speak with your primary care provider about screening for breast cancer or other cancers based on your medical or family history,” says Dr. Dobranowski, who is also Chair of the Department of Radiology for the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University, provincial head of the Cancer Imaging Program at Ontario Health-Cancer Care Ontario and provincial clinical lead for Access to Care MRI/CT.
Niagara Health operates three full-service OBSP Centres and Assessment Clinics, located in Niagara Falls, St. Catharines and Welland. Given the changes that have taken place during the pandemic, we are now booking several months ahead.
The Mobile Cancer Screening Coach, operated by the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Regional Cancer Care Program, also provides cancer screening services in Fort Erie and Port Colborne.
To learn more about breast screening at Niagara Health and to schedule an appointment, visit https://www.niagarahealth.on.ca/site/breast-screening
To learn more about the Mobile Cancer Screening Coach, such as eligibility and schedule, visit https://hnhbscreenforlife.ca/screenforlifecoach/