One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, making it one of the most common cancers in women across Canada. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and a great opportunity to discuss breast cancer awareness, prevention, and screening with the women in your life.
There are many ways to reduce your risk of breast cancer such as limiting alcohol intake, maintaining a healthy weight, and staying active. Breast cancer screening is also available and recommended by the Ontario Breast Screening Program. Being screened for cancer allows experts to catch cancer early when it is easier to treat.
Women between the age of 50 to 74 who are considered “average risk” should be screened every two years for breast cancer with mammography. Mammography is essentially an x-ray image of the breasts to show abnormalities, like tumors and cysts that could potentially be cancerous. There is also a “high risk” program for women between the ages of 30 and 69 who meet the high risk criteria, and would be screened annually with mammogram and MRI.
There are several options for breast cancer screening services within Northwestern Ontario. If you are average risk and due for breast cancer screening, you can find mammography services at the following locations:
The Screen for Life Coach is Northwestern Ontario’s mobile cancer screening unit providing breast, colon and cervical cancer screening to anyone eligible in our region. The Coach normally services 75 different locations annually, however screening locations have been reduced due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. This year, the Coach will be screening in Dryden, Marathon, Atikokan, Geraldton, Nipigon and returning to Thunder Bay by November to screen for the winter.
Do you want to help spread awareness this October? Look for local events happening in our community to help spread the word, raise money for breast cancer treatment and support people in our community. Follow the Screen for Life Coach and Thunder Bay Regional Health Science Centre on Facebook to keep in the know about breast cancer.
For more information about breast cancer screening, visit: www.tbrhsc.net/cancerscreening.