Plan Ahead, Get Screened, Protect Yourself, Op-ed
The following op-ed is from Dr. Judy Caines, medical director of the Nova Scotia Breast Screening Program.
Plan ahead. Get Screened.
Tens of thousands of women across our province have already taken those two simple steps when it comes to protecting themselves against breast cancer. It is a disease that affects both women and men, and can have a devastating effect on the life of a person, their families and friends.
We all know someone, or have heard about someone's friend, family member or colleague that has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Women have a 1-in-9 chance of being diagnosed in their lifetime. What we don't often hear is that the most effective way to detect breast cancer early, is to be screened regularly.
Since the Nova Scotia Breast Screening Program started in 1991, more than 185,000 women have been screened. The program has performed more than 793,000 mammograms and detected more than 3,500 cases of breast cancer.
As a woman, I recognize the importance of early detection. As the medical director of the screening program, I know all too well that there are still women in our province who do not get screened regularly. This is unfortunate because screening is easy, safe and so effective in the fight against breast cancer. The sooner breast cancer is found, the better the chances of surviving.
In Nova Scotia we have a robust breast screening program. Any women older than 40 can call 1-800-565-0548 and have a screening mammogram booked at a site of their choosing.
Nova Scotia also uses the latest digital technology in all 11 fixed sites across the province, and in one of the mobile units. The final phase to ensure all women in the province have access to superior technology has begun and a revised digital mobile mammography route will soon be a reality. Nova Scotia was the first, and one of only four provinces, to offer mobile digital mammography services in Canada.
Digital machines are quicker. They reduce the time to develop images from minutes to seconds and reduce appointment times, meaning more women can be screened per day. The images are clearer and make it easier for radiologists to detect abnormalities.
I can't stress enough the importance regular breast screening will play in your life. Breast screening is a simple step that can save your life.