This inclusive process will begin mid-October, announced Adrian Dix, Minister of Health.
“Sharing breast density results directly with all women will better inform and support them in monitoring their breast health,” Dix said. “Thirty years ago, B.C. was the first province in the country to develop an organized, provincial breast cancer-screening program, and we’re continuing to lead in this area by being the first to share breast density information directly with all women and their health-care providers as part of their breast screening results.”
The change will make B.C. the first in Canada to report these results directly to all women and their health-care providers with their screening mammogram results. Previously, breast density information was only available by request through the Breast Screening Program.
“Better access to breast density information is an important step for women’s health, and we want to acknowledge the advocacy of the many individual women and organizations that have shared their stories and supported this change,” said Mitzi Dean, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity. “The more we know, the more we are empowered to manage our own health and have informed conversations with our care providers.”
This move follows the completion of an external review by Dr. Andy Coldman, an emeritus scientist in the cancer control research department at the University of British Columbia and the BC Cancer Research Centre. The review report made three key recommendations, one of which was to develop a plan to communicate breast density results in B.C. The other two include continued assessment of the Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System, which performs density scoring, and monitoring of the ongoing results of randomized clinical trials of additional screening in women with negative screening mammography.
BC Cancer will be enacting all the recommendations made in the report. In addition to reporting breast density results starting mid-October, BC Cancer will form a working group that will communicate supporting information, including new education and support tools, and how to continue to assess and monitor the breast density screening system and new evidence around supplemental screening.
Michelle di Tomaso, Dense Breasts Canada co-founder –
“The Dense Breasts Canada team is thrilled with Minister Dix’s announcement that B.C. women will be the first across Canada to be told their breast density category and its associated breast cancer risks in their mammogram results letter, starting this October. What a great way to start Breast Cancer Awareness Month.”
Dr. Malcolm Moore, BC Cancer president –
“Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women in B.C., and we know dense breasts are one of multiple risk factors for this disease. Sharing breast density information with all women in the province allows them to be more empowered and able to proactively take steps to reduce their own personal risk.”
Dr. Colin Mar, BC Cancer Breast Screening Program medical director –
“Breast density is an important issue for women in the understanding of breast cancer risk and screening. BC Cancer’s breast screening team is excited about current planning to develop the best means of educating women and health-care providers about breast density, and of sharing individual breast density results. This will allow women to better understand their breast cancer risk and how best to address it.”
- Around one in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime.
- Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer found in women in B.C., with around 3,500 women receiving a breast cancer diagnosis each year.
- BC Cancer’s Breast Screening Program offers no-cost screening mammograms to eligible women in B.C., between the ages of 40 and 74.
- Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer for women in B.C., yet only half of eligible women are getting regular mammograms.
- Mammograms can usually detect lumps two to three years before a woman or her primary care provider can feel them.
- Research has shown a 25% reduction in deaths from breast cancer among women who screen regularly.
- BC Cancer’s Breast Screening Program was the first of its kind in Canada and celebrated its 30th anniversary in July 2018.
To read the full report, visit the screening program website: http://www.bccancer.bc.ca/screening/breast.
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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Ministry of Health
Media line: 250-952-1887
Provincial Health Services Authority
Media line: 778-867-7472