The goal of breast cancer screening is to detect cancer early and to successfully treat it. Mammography is currently the recommended test used to detect breast cancer. It is important to find breast cancer early because:
- There is a better chance of treating the cancer successfully
- It is less likely to spread
- There may be more treatment options
- When breast cancer is caught early, 90% of women recover fully after treatment
The Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) – a program administered by Cancer Care Ontario – provides mammography screening for women at average risk of developing breast cancer aged 50 years and older. Now, women aged 30-69 who are found to be at high risk for developing breast cancer will also have access to OBSP services including annual mammography and breast MRI screening. Find out more about this program expansion.
What is a mammogram?
A mammogram is a low dose X-ray of the breast. The X-ray can detect abnormalities in the breast, even when they may be too small for you or your doctor or nurse practitioner to see or feel. Regular mammograms are the most effective way to find early signs of breast cancer for most women. Mammograms use a low dose of radiation.
What is Magnetic Resonance Imaging?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a simple test that takes a very detailed picture of your breast and can help doctors and nurse practitioners find signs of breast cancer in women at high risk. An MRI picture includes the soft tissue (like skin or muscles), your bones and almost everything else in your body. The MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, radio pulses and a computer to make the picture. An MRI test does not use radiation (X-rays).