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Cancer Screening

Cancer screening helps to detect cancer early, sometimes before any symptoms are present, making the cancer more treatable.

Cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada. The risk of developing cancer increases with age. Screening and improved treatments have led to a decline in cancer deaths. In Ontario, there are three cancer screening programs with guidelines for breast, cervical and colon cancers.

Learn more about reducing your risk of cancer.


Breast Cancer Screening Programs

The Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) provides:

  • High-quality mammograms
  • Results of the screening appointment within two weeks to you and your health care provider
  • Help in setting up extra tests or referrals if needed
  • Reminder letters (usually every two years) when it is time to return for the next screening mammogram

The OBSP provides women at high risk from 30 to 69 years old:

  • Referrals for genetic assessment (if appropriate)
  • Annual mammograms and breast MRI screening

Ontario Breast Screening Guidelines

Women of all ages:

  • Know how your breasts normally look and feel
  • If you notice any changes see your health care provider

Women 30 to 69 years old at high risk (due to family or medical history):

  • Speak to your health care provider about a referral for specialized screening services offered through the OBSP

Women 50 to 74 years old:

  • Mammogram at least every two years
  • Women over the age of 50 may refer themselves to an OBSP site

OBSP Sites in York Region

To find an OBSP site in your area, call 1-800-668-9304.


Cervical Cancer Screening Programs

The Ontario Cervical Screening Program aims to help prevent and reduce deaths from cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer is preventable. Regular pap tests and following up on abnormal results can almost eliminate all deaths from cervical cancer.

Ontario Cervical Screening Guidelines

Women up until 70 years old:

  • If you have ever been sexually active you should be screened through pap testing starting at age 21
  • Pap tests should be done every three years

Colon Cancer Screening Programs

ColonCancerCheck is Ontario’s colon cancer screening program

There are two screening methods used:

  • Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT)
    • This is a simple, at-home test that finds small amounts of blood in the stool that may show a cancer
    • If you have blood in the stool, more tests will be needed
  • Colonoscopy
    • This examination looks at the inner lining of your colon and rectum, while you are sedated, using a long flexible tube with a camera on the end
    • A colonoscopy is recommended for individuals at increased risk (those with a parent, sibling or child who have had colon cancer) and those with a positive FOBT test

Ontario Colon Cancer Screening Recommendations

Men and women 50 to 74 years old of average risk:

  • Fecal Occult Blood Test every two years

Men and women of any age at increased risk:

  • Colonoscopy at age 50 or 10 years earlier than the relative’s age at diagnosis, whichever occurs first
  • Discuss this further with your health care provider

 



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