Provincial plan is good news
Editor’s note: the following letter first appeared in the May 9 edition of The Telegram.
Recently, the provincial budget was delivered in the House of Assembly. It was welcome news to learn that women in Newfoundland and Labrador age 40 to 49 can now access regular breast screening services, with a referral from their doctor. And a new digital mammography machine in Gander will bring down current wait times and easily serve the demand among the newly eligible age group.
Unfortunately, women continue to receive contradictory and misguided information on breast health and breast cancer. Most recently, in 2011 the Canadian Task Force on Preventative Health Care released screening guidelines that caused a stir in the breast cancer community.
The guidelines suggested there was little value in early screening and women aged 40 to 49 should not be regularly screened. It’s important to note that while the research is wellintentioned, the data used to produce the guidelines is 25 to 40 years old and based on equipment that is now outdated.
There have been significant advances made in breast imaging over the years, most notably the introduction of digital mammography. All 16 mammography machines used in Newfoundland and Labrador are digital units, considered the gold standard in screening.
Strong scientific evidence supports the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation’s (CBCF) position on regular screening. Early detection and diagnosis through participation in organized breast screening programs can reduce the death rate for women in the 40 to 49 age group by 25 per cent. Further, the public demand across Canada for access to screening services underscores our belief that the benefits of early screening far outweigh any risk of a f a lse alarm.
Now that this new group of women can access screening, CBCF’S next big priority will be to work collaboratively with the breast screening program to ensure that all women, regardless of where they live, can access th e sam e s tandard of c a re throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. If you’re eligible, please don’t wait book your mammogram today. Call 1-800-414-3443. Jane Parsons is CEO of the
Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) in the