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3 Things You Can Do to Help Detect Breast Cancer Early

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Get mammograms starting at 40

The evidence is clear: annual mammograms starting at age 40 save the most lives. Seventeen percent of breast cancers occur in women in their 40s, and those cancers are more aggressive. Minority women are more likely to be diagnosed in their 40s. Women in Ontario can’t self-refer for mammograms in their 40s. They need a requisition from their health care provider. Canadian guidelines state that women can choose to have a mammogram in their 40s. Your body. Your decision. If you’re unjustly denied, visit a walk-in or find out what to say to your
provider at mybreastscreening.ca.

Learn about the importance of knowing your breast density

About half a million women in Ontario are at increased risk of breast cancer because they have dense breasts. They haven’t been told. Breast density is only determined after a mammogram. Dense breasts are normal, but increase both the risk of breast cancer and the risk cancer will be hidden on a mammogram. Your health care provider knows your density category. After your mammogram, just ask.

Be your own advocate

Women are routinely denied access to screening ultrasound in Ontario. Mammograms aren’t enough for women with dense breasts because both cancer and dense tissue appear white on the X-ray, creating a masking effect. Ultrasound finds additional cancers missed in dense breasts. Insist on additional screening and find out how to advocate for an ultrasound at mybreastscreening.ca.

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