PEI Breast Screening Program
What is a mammogram?
A mammogram is an x-ray of the breast and it is the best screening tool to detect cancer early. Regular screening with mammography can find changes in the breast before they can be felt and increase your chances of long-term survival.
How can I be part of the screening program?
A screening mammogram is available for people aged 40-74 who:
- Have breast tissue;
- Are residents of PEI;
- Do not have a personal history of breast cancer;
- Do not have breast symptoms such as a breast lump, puckered skin, rash, or nipple discharge;
- Do not have breast implants; or
- Have not had a mammogram within the past 12 months.
For ages 50-74:
- Screening is recommended every 2 years through self-referral to the PEI Breast Screening Program.
For ages 40-49:
- Screening is available every year through self-referral to the PEI Breast Screening Program.
High Risk of Breast Cancer:
Screening is recommended yearly with mammography for people who:
- Have had radiation therapy to the chest (prior to age 30) to treat another cancer or condition (e.g., Hodgkin lymphoma); or
- Are known to have a gene mutation (e.g., BRCA1, BRCA2).
Increased Risk of Breast Cancer:
Screening is recommended yearly if you are between 40-74 and have an immediate family member (mother, daughter, sister, father, son, brother) with breast cancer.
- If you are over 40 years of age, you can self-refer to the breast program.
- If you have a first-degree relative who was diagnosed with breast cancer, you can enter the screening program 10 years prior to the family member’s age at breast cancer diagnosis. A health care provider’s referral is required for this initial screening appointment.
Stay informed and know the benefits and risks of breast screening.
How do I get a breast screening appointment?
You can schedule an appointment without a referral from your physician or nurse practitioner by calling 1-888-592-9888.
Between appointments, if your breast(s) feels different or has any unusual bumps upon a self-examination, mammography is available but a request from your primary care provider is needed.
The PEI Breast Screening Program operates at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Prince County Hospital.
Once you are part of the screening program, you will receive a reminder letter stating it is time to call again and schedule your next appointment.
How should I prepare for my mammogram?
Do not wear deodorant, lotion or any powder when you come for your mammogram. These may cause artifacts (small particles) that can interfere with the test results.
Will it hurt?
Your breast tissue needs to be compressed (spread out) to obtain the best images and this may cause temporary discomfort. The exam does not take long.
Will I need to wear a thyroid collar for the mammogram?
No, a thyroid collar is not recommended during the mammogram and may interfere with the images. The Canadian Association of Radiologists (CAR) position is that “the use of thyroid shield for mammography is not indicated”.
What else can I do?
The best way to detect breast cancer at its earliest stage is by having a mammogram. You can also perform a breast self-exam at home which can help you become familiar with how your breasts look and feel, so you can report any changes to a health care professional as soon as they are found.
It is important to talk to your primary care provider about your breast health and what is right for you. Your health care provider can provide information on the benefits and limitations of screening so that an informed decision can be made.
How do I contact the PEI Breast Screening Program?
To schedule an appointment call 1-888-592-9888 (toll-free).
For other questions, call the mammography department at:
- Queen Elizabeth Hospital: 902-894-2915 or 902-894-2924
- Prince County Hospital: 902-438-4570
To speak with the Provincial Breast Screening Coordinator call 902-894-2914.