Medical Background - 1

Email Health Minister Mark Holland to demand the Government fulfills its commitment to better breast screening guidelines for Canadian women.

Canada has breast screening guidelines that healthcare practitioners follow. These guidelines, made by a Task Force in 2018, did not include input from breast cancer experts, and were based on outdated evidence. The guidelines dangerously recommended AGAINST mammograms in the 40s, self-exam, and additional screening for women with dense breasts, putting women aged 40-74 at risk for later-stage breast cancer diagnoses.

Last winter, Dense Breasts Canada asked Canadians to demand the harmful guidelines be revised. The former Health Minister responded by providing $500,000 for an expedited update of the guidelines. He stated, “having breast cancer screening guidelines that are based on the latest science is essential.”

The Task Force is currently updating the guidelines for breast screening. Unfortunately, all is not what it seems:

  • There are current studies that show that breast screening results in a 40-50% reduction in deaths from breast cancer, but the Task Force has instead placed “higher value” on studies from the 1960s, 70s, and 80s which show minimal benefit to screening.
  • By downgrading the value of the current studies, the Task Force is downplaying the benefits of screening to women and their physicians.
  • The continued use of outdated evidence also ignores the rising incidence of breast cancer in younger women. Moreover, it results in systemic racial bias because these old studies were performed almost exclusively on white women. Today, we know that breast cancer incidence peaks in the 40s for Black, Asian, and Hispanic women, but in the 60s for white women.

Without intervention, this guideline review will continue to put Canadian women at risk for later-stage cancer diagnoses, harsher treatments, and death.

This means more goodbyes, and we won't let that stand.

Please send this email to tell Canada’s Health Minister, Mark Holland, to:

  1. Immediately pause the review of Canada’s breast screening guidelines.
  2. Fulfill the commitment made by the government to use the latest science.
  3. Ensure that only evidence published after the year 2000 is used to make new guidelines.
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