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

Kelowna Art Gallery hosts new exhibition, Poetics of Space

The exhibition can be viewed from Feb. 2 until May 5

Kelowna RCMP use spike belt to apprehend alleged car thieves

Both suspects were expected in court Thursday morning

Kelowna RCMP ask for assistance to identify suspects

The break and enter resulted in a firearm being stolen

TELUS works with YMCA for Okanagan youth

A four week employment program will assist at-risk youth

First recreational cannabis store in Okanagan has quiet opening near Lake Country

Indigenous Bloom has opened on Okanagan Indian Band land

B.C. opioid crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

A program that focuses on treatment as prevention will roll out Jan. 17

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Hergott: Memories of crashes fade

Lawyer Paul Hergott writes about the importance of journaling after a crash

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Vancouver Island photographer makes National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour for Marston from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

Ex-Liberal candidate in Burnaby, B.C., says volunteer wrote controversial post

Karen Wang dropped out following online post singling out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

Remorse high for Vernon man sentenced for car surfing death

Driver of car that killed friend who was car surfing gets nine months in jail

Most Read