Ontario is lowering the age for regular, publicly funded breast cancer screening from 50 to 40, which Health Minister Sylvia Jones says will make early detection easier.
Mme Jones is expected to make the announcement later today and says with this expansion an additional 130,000 mammograms will be performed in the province each year.
The move follows a draft recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, released earlier this year, that screenings in that country should begin at age 40 instead of 50 because data Available data suggest that this measure would have a moderate beneficial effect on reducing the number of deaths.
This change in Ontario means that starting in fall 2024, eligible trans, two-spirit, and non-binary women aged 40 to 74 will be able to self-attend a mammogram every two years.
People ages 30 to 69 can already have regular mammograms and breast MRIs if they are considered high risk, such as those with a family history of breast cancer or those who carry certain genes known to cause breast cancer. increase the risk of breast cancer.
The ministry says that by next fall, establishments offering breast cancer screening will hire new staff and work with the government to develop a public reporting system so patients can know wait times at province-wide.
“Nearly 12,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, and we know that early detection and increased access to care save lives,” said Ms.me Jones in a statement.
“That’s why our government is taking this important step today to expand the Ontario Breast Screening Program to connect one million more women to the services they need to ensure timely access to treatment and save lives . »
Sherry Wilcox, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in her 40s, said the change was important.
“I am very grateful that with this announcement, other women will not have to endure the pain of a later diagnosis like I did,” she wrote in a quote from Minister Jones’ press release. .
“Research shows that early detection of breast cancer leads to less aggressive therapy and reduced mortality rates – this announcement will save lives. »
A spokesperson for Mme Jones said Ontario Health is working to determine how many staff will need to be hired, so he was unable to say at this point how much funding would be dedicated to expanding testing.