Breast cancer screening in Canada: Environmental scan (2017)

Review this summary from April 2017 of the key components of breast cancer screening programs and strategies across Canada

As of 2017, organized breast cancer screening programs are available in most provinces and territories across Canada. The programs screen women who are at an average risk for breast cancer, and show no signs or symptoms. Where organized screening programs are not available, a primary care provider may offer screening.

Data is collected annually about national, provincial and territorial breast cancer screening guidelines, strategies and activities for helping inform policies and practices.

 Discover more about these highlights:

  • The first organized breast cancer screening program began in British Columbia in 1988. From 1990 to 2008, 11 more provinces and territories started organized breast cancer screening programs. Nunavut does not have an organized breast cancer screening program.
  • Most provinces and territories recommend screening women at average risk with a mammogram every two years, starting at age 50 and continuing until age 75. Some provinces and territories screen for breast cancer every one or two years if a woman is younger than 50 and chooses to get screened, has been identified as high risk or her doctor recommends the screening.
  • Most provinces and territories recruit women into their breast cancer screening program through a doctor’s referral or self-referral.

Downloadable content