News release

Breast Density Information Available

Information about breast density is an important part of breast cancer screening and ensuring early detection and treatment. That is why it will now be automatically included in a woman’s screening mammography report. Nova Scotia is the first province in Canada to use a software that assesses breast density and automatically shares results.

“Breast health is a serious issue and it’s important to make sure women have all the information,” said Health and Wellness Minister Randy Delorey. “Nova Scotia continues to lead the way with women now able to get their breast density information with the results of their screening mammogram. I want to thank the IWK Health Centre for its innovation and enhancement to the Nova Scotia Breast Screening Program.”

Knowing breast density is important because:

  • women with higher breast density have an increased risk of breast cancer
  • higher breast density may make it more difficult for the radiologist to interpret the screening mammogram
  • it helps women better understand their breast cancer risk and how screening can play a role

“October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which highlights the importance of breast awareness, education and research,” said Minister responsible for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women Kelly Regan. “This year, we’re taking steps to help more women have access to important information about their breast health.”

Quotes:

Understanding breast cancer risk and the role of screening is important for Nova Scotia women, and breast density is one risk factor. We are excited by the progress we are making to share this information with women and their care providers. We encourage women to talk to their health-care providers about whether screening is right for them and breast density information will help support that conversation. Dr. Sian Iles, medical advisor, Nova Scotia Breast Screening Program

Nova Scotia women will now know that dense breasts increase a woman's risk of breast cancer and increase the risk that cancer can be missed on a screening mammogram. This is invaluable knowledge that will allow women to make informed decisions about their breast health. Thank you, Premier McNeil. Jennie Dale, executive director, Dense Breasts Canada

Quick Facts:

  • about 65,000 screening mammograms were performed in Nova Scotia in 2018
  • women who have been screened in the last two years can contact their primary health-care provider to request their breast density information
  • The Nova Scotia Breast Screening Program at IWK Health Centre has overseen the development of this new process using software developed by Densitas Inc.
  • a screening mammogram, or breast x-ray, remains the international standard method of screening for early detection of breast cancer
  • one in eight Nova Scotia women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime

Additional Resources:

Nova Scotia Breast Screening Program: https://breastscreening.nshealth.ca/

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Media Contact:

Heather Fairbairn
902-717-2151 Email: