Island women encouraged to get regular breast screenings

Island women are encouraged to follow breast screening guidelines and have regular mammograms. 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and the perfect time to remind everyone about the importance of getting screened and finding breast cancer early. Breast screening is available to women aged 40-79 without a referral from a physician through the PEI Breast Screening Program

“With regular mammograms, women are more likely to discover breast cancer early and have a better chance of recovering. We encourage all women who are eligible for the program to book an appointment – it is as simple as making a call.”

- Health and Wellness Minister James Aylward

Through the breast screening program, women ages 40-49 are able to get a screening every year through self-referral. Those at high risk of breast cancer are also recommended to have yearly screenings. This includes women who have had radiation therapy to the chest (prior to age 30) to treat another cancer or condition (e.g., Hodgkin lymphoma) or who have a gene mutation (e.g., BRCA1, BRCA2).

Women ages 50-74 are recommended to have a screening mammogram every two years, if they do not have symptoms or any other known risk factors.  

In 2019, 10,436 breast screening exams were completed through the breast screening program.

“While we are proud of the more than 10,000 women who self-refer and get their regular mammograms, we know there are many more eligible women who have yet to make an appointment,” said Jamie-Lynn Bell, Interim Provincial Breast Screening Coordinator for Health PEI. “We hope those women are reminded to make the call and get scheduled for a screening as soon as possible.”

Minister Responsible for the Status of Women, Natalie Jameson said it is important for people to remember the impact breast cancer has on Island women. 
“Everyone knows a wife, a sister, a mother, a daughter or a loved one who has experienced breast cancer. It affects our communities, our families, and it has taken many lives,” said Minister Natalie Jameson. “Being aware of the risk of breast cancer and taking steps to detect it early on is vitally important. I urge women, don’t put off screening because of COVID-19. You are too important.”

The provincial breast screening program, which operates  at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Prince County Hospital, is taking appointments. Islanders can schedule an appointment by calling 1-888-592-9888 (toll-free). 

Between regular screening appointments, women are encouraged to do self-examinations for any changes or unusual bumps on their breasts and speak with their primary care provider to determine if a mammography is needed.

For more information, visit: PEI Breast Screening Program.

Media contact:
Everton McLean
Health PEI

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