After having a mammogram, women in British Columbia will get breast density information, making the province the first one in Canada to share these results with the patients to help them better inform and support their breast health.
Beginning with mid-October, the result from mammograms will be available.
This information was available, but only after the patients requested it through the Breast Screening Program. The medical director of the breast screening program, Colin Mar, stated on 21 September that breast density is one of the factors for cancer:
“Interpretation becomes more challenging when the breast density becomes higher.”
Women Can Learn More About The Risk Of Breast Cancer
The parliamentary secretary for gender equity, Mitzi Dean, stated that access to this information will help women start “a discussion with their health care professionals on an equal footing about their risk of breast cancer and the best means to address that risk.”
For the past three decades, B.C. has collected breast density information, but the Organization Breast Density Canada, stated that sharing this information is significant:
“Information is power. We would just love to see everyone follow B.C.’s lead. The other provinces, they can do it. There’s no logical reason for a government to withhold lifesaving information for women,” stated the co-founder of the organization, Jennie Dale.
Dale also explained that many women are not aware of the density of their breasts – and there are about 400,000 women in B.C. that might not know about it. She explained that high breast density is a far higher risk than family history.
“Today, we know that approximately one-in-eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime,” stated B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix. Breast cancer is a common type of cancer in women in the province. Each year, almost 3,500 women receive this diagnostic.
B.C. Cancer Research Centre’s Dr. Andy Coldman, also a University of British Columbia scientist with the university’s cancer control research department, recommended the new information policy in an external review.
BC Cancer adopted two other recommendation in the review and will also form a working group to educate and support women so that they learn more about breast density. The group will roll out in January 2019.
Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere