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What is Breast Cancer Screening?

Breast cancer screening is the regular examination of a woman's breasts to find breast cancer early. A breast X-ray (mammogram) is the best screening tool.

What is a Mammogram?

A mammogram is a low dose X-ray of the breast. The X-ray can find changes in the breast, even when the changes are too small for you or your doctor to feel or see. Some women may experience discomfort but this generally only lasts for a few seconds. You can speak with the technologist who may be able to adjust the compression to make the process more comfortable.

Learn more about breast screening from Cancer Care Ontario. 

The Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) makes breast cancer screening easily accessible for women with or without a family physician. The program’s mission is to reduce deaths from breast cancer by providing high-quality breast screening.

  • In Ontario, it is recommended that women aged 50 to 74 years of age have a screening mammogram, generally every two years. 
  • Women between 50 and 74 years can book their own appointments and are reminded by letter when they are due for their next screen. There is no cost to participate in the program. 
  • The evidence for mammography for women aged 40-49 is not as clear as for women aged 50-69. Therefore, in Ontario it is recommended that women aged 40-49 talk to their doctor to make a personal decision about mammography.


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