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Eligibility

Breast Screening

Average risk, ages 40-49

Health care providers are encouraged to discuss the benefits and limitations of screening mammography with asymptomatic women in this age group.

If screening mammography is chosen, it is available every two years. Patients will be recalled every two years. A health care provider’s referral is not required but is recommended.

Average risk, ages 50-74

Routine screening mammograms are recommended every two years for asymptomatic women at average risk of developing breast cancer. Patients will be recalled every two years. A health care provider’s referral is not required.

Average risk, ages 75+

Health care providers are encouraged to discuss the benefits and limitations (found in the Guidance tab) of screening mammography with asymptomatic women in this age group.

Health care providers should discuss stopping screening when there are comorbidities associated with a limited life expectancy or physical limitations for mammography that prevent proper positioning.

If screening mammography is chosen, it is available every two to three years. Patients will not be recalled by BC Cancer Breast Screening. A health care provider’s referral is not required but is recommended.

Higher than average risk, ages 40-74 with a first-degree relative with breast cancer

Routine screening mammograms are recommended every year. Patients will be recalled every year. A health care provider’s referral is not required.

High risk, ages 30-74

Screening mammograms are recommended every year for women ages 30-74 if at least one of the following applies to them:

  • They are a BRCA1 or BCRA2 carrier;
  • They are an untested first degree relative of BRCA1 or BRCA 2 carrier;
  • Have a very strong family history1 of breast cancer; or,
  • Have had prior chest wall radiation.

Please speak with your doctor for more information and referral.

1(a) 2 cases of breast cancer in close female relatives (mother, sister, daughter, aunt, grandmother, or great-aunt) on the same side of the family, both diagnosed before age 50, or (b) 3 or more cases of breast cancer in close female relatives (mother, sister, daughter, aunt, grandmother, or great-aunt) on the same side of the family, with at least one diagnosed before age 50.

Women are NOT eligible for a screening mammogram if they:

  • Have breast implants.
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Have a previous history of breast cancer. Breast Cancer is defined as:
    • All invasive breast carcinoma, including Paget's disease of the nipple
    • All in-situ breast carcinoma, excluding lobular carcinoma in-situ (LIN1/2)
    • Primary lymphoma of the breast
    • Sarcoma of the breast, excluding benign, borderline and low-grade phyllodes
    • Metastatic disease to the breast
    • Any other cancer arising in the breast
  • Have any new breast complaints such as a lump or nipple discharge.
  • Have had a mammogram on both breasts in the last 12 months.

Other Procedures

Routine breast self-examinations (when used as the only method to screen for breast cancer) are not recommended for asymptomatic women at average risk of developing breast cancer.

Women should be familiar with their breast texture and appearance and bring any concerns to their health care provider. 
 
There is insufficient evidence to either support or refute routine clinical breast exams (in the absence of symptoms) alone or in conjunction with mammography. The patient and her health care provider should discuss the benefits and limitations of this procedure to determine what is best for the patient.

This excludes women with prior breast cancer history.
 
Routine screening with breast MRI of women at average risk of developing breast cancer is not recommended.

Exceptions are higher than average risk groups include: BRCA1 and/or BRCA2 carriers, first degree family relatives of BRCA1 and/or BRCA2 not tested, and prior Hodgkin’s disease (or other lymphoproliferative diseases) at a young age (between the ages of 10-30 years old) treated with chest radiation.
 

For details on screening in other age groups and government clinical practice guidelines and protocols, see the "Screening" section of "Breast Disease and Cancer: Diagnosis" at BC Guidelines.

SOURCE: Eligibility ( )
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