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Breast cancer screening 
Cancer Care Ontario logo

Facts about breast cancer
  • Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer for women in Ontario.
  • In the next year, it is estimated that 8,900 Ontario women will develop breast cancer and approximately 2,100 women will die from breast cancer.
  • Older women are at greatest risk of getting breast cancer.  
  • 80 per cent of breast cancers are found in women over 50 years old.
  • Most women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease.
We can’t prevent breast cancer yet, but if it’s found early, when it is very small, there is a good chance it can be cured.

What is breast screening?
Breast screening is the regular examination of a woman's breasts to find breast cancer early. A breast x-ray (mammogram) is usually the best screening tool.
Mammography is still the gold standard for most women, even though there have been advances in screening technology. Ontario women can receive a screening mammogram in one of two ways: through Ontario’s screening program, the Ontario Breast Cancer Screening Program (OBSP), or through stand-alone OHIP funded clinics.
What is the OBSP?
Affiliated with Cancer Care Ontario, OBSP offers free, high-quality mammography services for women 50 years of age and older. All OBSP sites are accredited. In the Waterloo Wellington region, this service is located at the Waterloo Wellington Breast Centre at Grand River Hospital’s Freeport Site, 3570 King St. East in Kitchener.

What does the OBSP provide?
  • High-quality mammograms in sites accredited by the Canadian Association of Radiologists;
  • Results of the screening appointment within two weeks to patients and their healthcare provider;
  • Help setting up extra tests or referrals if they are needed;
  • A reminder letter when it is time to return for another screening mammogram (usually every two years). Women over the age of 74 do not receive a reminder letter, but are welcome to call for an appointment after they have discussed it with their healthcare provider.
Who is eligible?
To qualify for this program, you must be 50 years of age or older, have no clinical breast concerns and no prior history of breast cancer or breast implants.

How to make an appointment
Eligible women may call the OBSP screening location closest to them to make an appointment (a referral is not needed). There are eight sites located in Waterloo Wellington region.

Please click here to find an OBSP siteYour healthcare provider can also refer you.

Screening rates in Ontario
Ontario’s target is to have 70 per cent of women aged 50-69 participate in regular screening by the year 2010 and 90% of women in this age group by the year 2020. Currently, 66% of women aged 50 to 69 participate in regular screening.

What else can you do?
  • Be aware of any changes in your breasts.
  • If you notice changes, see your health care provider as soon as possible.
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