Early Detection of Breast Cancer & Mammograms

Understanding Mammograms

Screening Mammography Program of BC

The BC Cancer Agency’s Screening Mammography Program provides free, regular mammograms to BC women from the age of 40 without a doctor’s referral. (see guidelines below)

A screening mammogram is an x-ray exam of the breast used to find breast changes in healthy women with no signs of breast problems.  At the exam, a trained female technologist takes four x-rays, two of each breast. 

Who is eligible?

  • Must be a B.C. resident
  • Women 40 to 49 years of age: have access to screening every 2 years
  • Women 50 -74 years of age: recommended screening every 2 years
  • Women 75 years and older: continue to have access to screening without a doctor's referral
  • Women 40 -74 years of age *with a family history of breast cancer in a first degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) to receive annual screening
  • Have no breast changes (e.g. new lumps, thickening or discharge)
  • Can provide the name of a doctor to receive the results
  • Have not had a mammogram within 12 months
  • Have not had breast cancer
  • Do not have breast implants
  • Are not pregnant or breast-feeding

If you do not meet the criteria for screening mammography, please talk to your doctor to find out about other mammography options.

What to do if you are experiencing a breast health concern.

Book your screening mammogram by calling 1-800-663-9203.


Screening Mammography Locations

Mobile services

Mobile screening mammography services are offered through the Screening Mammography Program once or twice a year.  For a schedule, please visit www.bccancer.bc.ca/screening/breast/find-a-clinic/mobile-mammography-service   

Fixed location services

Island Health offers screening mammography services at some Island Health locations.
 


“Fast Track” Facilitated Diagnostic Work-ups for Women with Abnormal Screening Mammograms

About 7% of all women screened in BC have abnormal screening mammograms. These cases may require follow-up imaging tests, called diagnostic work-ups.  The Screening Mammography Program has a Fast Track process to reduce the time required to complete diagnostic work-ups. 

If your physician participates in the Fast Track process, you will receive a call to arrange a timely appointment for follow-up imaging tests. Otherwise, a physician will arrange for the appropriate tests once he or she receives the screening mammogram report.

Women who have not heard from their physician or a diagnostic facility within one week of receiving their abnormal results letter need to contact their physician.


Hereditary Cancer 

People are often surprised to learn that only 5-10% of cancer diagnosis can be attributed to heredity.

The BC Cancer Agency website has information to help you determine whether your family is at risk for developing a hereditary cancer.

For families at risk for developing a hereditary cancer, a physician can refer you to the BC Cancer Agency's Hereditary Cancer Program for genetic counseling.   

If you would like more information you can contact the Hereditary Cancer Program at 1-800-663-3333 Ext. 672198. 

 

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