October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October 5, 2021

A message from the Alberta Health Services Alberta Breast Cancer Screening Program 

The AHS Alberta Breast Cancer Screening Program is using this opportunity to share information with physicians about breast cancer screening in the province.

Screening and the COVID-19 pandemic

As breast cancer screening services continue to be impacted by the pandemic, we’re reminding providers about the importance of regular screening mammograms. This is the best way to find cancer early when treatment may work better.

Encourage patients aged 50 to 74 to get screened. Enhanced safety measures are in place to keep people safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19. It may take longer than normal to get an appointment, but clinics will prioritize patients as needed.

Breast density and screening 

Since January 1, 2021, breast density scores have been included in screening mammogram result letters to patients. While density can be a risk factor for breast cancer, other factors (sex, age, family history) have a more significant impact. 

Dense breast tissue can reduce the sensitivity of screening mammograms. Supplemental tests may be used on a case-by-case basis; however, evidence on their effectiveness is evolving. 

Mobile screening milestone

September marked the 30th anniversary of Screen Test Mobile. Our mobile screening units travel to 120 rural and remote communities, helping to reduce barriers by bringing high quality screening mammography to women, regardless of where they live. 

Since September 1991, we’ve performed over 308,500 screening mammograms and detected over 1,845 cases of breast cancer. Thanks to our partners for supporting this critical service.

Screening mammography is readily available in Alberta’s diagnostic imaging community clinics and Screen Test sites, providing a COVID-safe environment and individualized care. 

Visit screeningforlife.ca for information and resources.

The AMA advances patient-centered, quality care by advocating for and supporting physician leadership and wellness.