Funded by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care and managed by Cancer Care Ontario, the Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) provides province wide, high-quality, OHIP-covered breast screening mammography services. The OBSP offers important advantages for women and their primary care providers including scheduling of all screening appointments, sending recall and result letters to women, and arranging follow-up services for women with results that require further testing.
Screening Mammography is the best screening test for most women and plays an important part in early detection of breast cancer. Regular screening mammograms can detect cancer in its early stages which means there may be more treatment options, that is less likely to spread and a better chance of treating the cancer successfully.
Women ages 50 to 74 are encouraged to have a mammogram every two years to detect changes in breast tissue that are too small to feel or see.
The OBSP Program does not require a requisition from your doctor however, the following requirements must be met to be a part of the program:
Women over the age of 74 who meet the above requirements can still take part in the program with a physician requisition.
Preparing for Your Mammography:
The Day of your appointment:
During your Mammogram:
Breast compression is necessary to:
After your Mammogram:
Are there any tests that are better than a mammogram?
Studies have shown that ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) combined with mammography can aid in diagnosis of breast concerns. However, both MRI and ultrasound show more findings that are not cancer, which can result in added testing, stress and unnecessary biopsies. Mammography remains to be the gold standard for breast cancer screening for most women.
What is dense breast tissue?
Breasts contain glandular, connective and fat tissue. Breast density is a term that describes the relative amount of these different types of breast tissue as seen on a mammogram. Dense breasts have relatively high amounts of glandular tissue and fibrous connective tissue and relatively low amounts of fatty breast tissue.
Do I need to wear a thyroid collar for a mammogram?
A mammogram is a low dose x-ray of the breasts. The x-ray dose from a mammogram is very low and the exposure to the thyroid is negligible. Thyroid exposure has been carefully studied and is so small that it is equivalent to 30 minutes of background radiation (the naturally occurring radiation we all get every day from the environment). There is no risk to the thyroid during a mammogram and a thyroid shield is not necessary to wear during the exam.
Should I be concerned with the radiation exposure during a mammogram?
Today, modern mammography equipment produces high quality breast images with low doses of radiation. The total dose for a mammogram with two views of each breast (four pictures) is about 0.4mSv. The average annual effective dose from natural background radiation is about 1.8mSv in Canada and 2.4mSv worldwide.
Whenever having a medical procedure that involves radiation, an individual must always measure the risk vs the benefit. The benefit of an accurate diagnosis far out weights the risk.
Screening Mammography Recommendations for Women Receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine
Screening mammograms and COVID-19 vaccines are both very important for your health – click here to learn more!