HEALTH

Breast density to be included in mammogram results across B.C.

The information is crucial in proactively reducing the risk of breast cancer, doctors say

B.C. women will now receive an additional crucial insight following a screening mammogram to help reduce their risk of breast cancer.

Starting mid-October, BC Cancer’s breast screening program will now include breast density information with all mammogram results sent to women and their care providers.

The change, announced Friday by Health Minister Adrian Dix, means women will no longer have to request the information themselves. B.C. is the first province in the country to offer this information upfront.

“Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women in B.C., and we know dense breasts are one of multiple risk factors for this disease,” Dr. Malcolm Moore with BC Cancer said in a statement.

The move follows the completion of an external review by Dr. Andy Coldman, an emeritus scientist in the cancer control research department at the University of British Columbia and the BC Cancer Research Centre. Other recommendations included training for doctors and a communications team to provide other education and support.

While cancer in a fatty breast is easy to spot, it is often hard for a screening to detect cancer in a dense breast because tissue and cancer both appear white. Roughly 43 per cent of women over the age of 40 have dense breasts, according to Dense Breasts Canada, and considered a greater risk factor than having a family history of breast cancer.

Michelle di Tomaso, co-founder of Dense Breasts Canada, said her group is “thrilled” with the move that will allow women to better understand how their breast density associates with breast cancer risk – an aspect of her health she never had the chance to see.

Her group has been calling for this information to be provided after a screening for years.

Di Tomaso was diagnosed in 2014 with Stage 2B triple positive breast cancer, after being told that her diagnosis had been delayed three years because she had dense breasts.

In the two years after the diagnosis, she underwent two surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, a double mastectomy and three unsuccessful reconstructive surgeries.

Co-founder Jennie Dale said the information will allow women to decide if they need further screening – something they will either need to pay for privately or try to request through their doctor.

While mammograms catch about 50 per cent of cancers in the densest breasts, ultrasounds can catch an additional three to four cancers per 1,000 women.

“Before [women] were in the dark, they couldn’t talk with their doctor – their doctor didn’t know their breast density, they didn’t know their breast density,” she said.

“Women are still going to need to go get screened privately and advocate very strongly.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Stan Chong, brother to legendary comedian Tommy, dies at age 82

Parksville resident loved family, scuba diving and umpiring

Development, taxes and 222 Corfield discussed at Parksville all candidates meeting

All candidates met on Oct. 11 to answer the public’s questions before the Oct. 20 election

Inspiring Qualicum Beach teacher suddenly passes away

English teacher and counsellor Carol Myhre remembered as ‘source of joy’: superintendent

Qualicum district students to develop experiments that could head into space

Youngsters compete to have designs reach International Space Station

VIDEO: How to roll a joint

The cannabis connoisseur shares his secrets to rolling the perfect joint

Boeser tallies in OT as Canucks beat Penguins 3-2

Vancouver wins without star rookie Pettersson

Mayor of Kamloops says ‘history has been made’ with vote on B.C.’s lone pot shop

The store to be run by the province in B.C.’s Interior is opening Wednesday as pot sales become legal across Canada

New bus route to ‘replace’ Greyhound along Trans-Canada Highway

Rider Express Transportation says they will soon begin a bus service from Winnipeg to Vancouver

U.S. pot firm urges Trump to deny Canadian producers ‘competitive advantage’

The challenge for U.S. firms lies in the fact that while recreational cannabis is legal in nine states and medicinal pot in 22 others, it remains illegal under federal law

Government says imprisoned Canadian terror suspects must face consequences

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale showed little sympathy Tuesday for such individuals who now want to return to Canada

How rules for inmate segregation in Canada will change under Bill C-83

Federal government proposing changes to rules around inmates in federal correctional institutions

Canada Post union issues strike notice; rotating strikes could begin Monday

Union says rotating strikes will begin if agreements aren’t reached with bargaining units

Duncan play faces challenges even before first performance as thieves strike

Thefts hamper Deathtrap days before opening at Mercury Theatre

Most Read