Advocate for yourself.
1. Your healthcare provider may not be up-to-date on the risks of dense breasts.
However, you know that women with dense breasts face a higher risk of cancer and that mammograms can fail to detect cancer because both dense tissue and cancer appear white.
We outline in detail what to discuss with your doctor on our Get Informed page under the section “What If I Have Dense Breasts?”
2. Your healthcare provider may not be aware that the decision to screen at 40 is a woman's decision based on her values and preferences, as stated in the breast screening guidelines made for health care providers. No woman in Canada should be denied a requisition. If you live in a province where you cannot self-refer at 40, it is your decision to have a mammogram in your 40s. And it is highly recommended by experts to do so since 17% of breast cancers happen in the 40s and these cancers are more aggressive, fueled by hormones. https://canadiantaskforce.ca/guidelines/published-guidelines/breast-cancer-update/
You can also print these scripts to help you prepare for your discussion with your provider about ultrasound and/or mammograms at 40.
You can download our brochure to take with to your healthcare practitioner’s office.
You can refer your doctor/nurse practitioner to the Health Professionals tab on densebreast-info.org
Print and take to your doctor these recommendations from Canada's breast cancer screening experts at the Canadian Association of Radiologists and the Canadian Society of Breast Imaging https://csbi.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/CAR-CSBI-Breast-Density-Position-Statement-En.pdf
Current breast screening recommendations for average risk women from the Canadian Association of Radiologists and Canadian Society of Breast Imaging are summarized as follows:
1. Women aged 40-49 should screen ANNUALLY with mammography
2. Women aged 50-74 should screen every one to two years with mammography
3. Women OVER aged 74 should screen every one to two years with mammography for as long as they are in good general health with life expectancy of approximately 7 years or greater
4. Below age 40 screening is not recommended for average risk women, but risk should be assessed by age 25-30 in order to determine if early screening is appropriate.
Spread the word.
Tell other women.
Ask friends, family and colleagues if they have heard about breast density. If not, tell them why it’s important. Encourage women to find out their density. Details by province can be found HERE.
Share your story on our website.
If your cancer diagnosis was delayed because you have dense breasts, please share your story. Stories are empowering and impactful for others.
Please email us: email@example.com OR upload your story on our page: STORIES.
Join our team.
We are looking for members from every province to help us raise awareness and advocate for density notification. There is much to be done. There is no time commitment. We are looking for volunteers with expertise in marketing, communication, government relations, community engagement and social media.
Follow & Share
Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and share our posts. Links to our social media accounts at bottom of site.
We have made great progress in Canada on breast density notification in the past two years. Currently BC, AB, MB, NS, NB and PEI are directly informing ALL women in their mammogram results letters mailed to them. YT and SK are beginning soon. In most of the other provinces women in the highest category of density are informed. Healthcare providers are being told the patient's breast density. You can ask if you are not in a province that informs all women. In QC, the information is online in each woman's health booklet. Advocacy continues for all women across Canada to be directly informed.
LETTERS TO POLITICIANS
Please see the footer for the letter for your province and please take a minute to send it in. Please consider sharing the letter with your contacts. The more letters that get sent in, the more impactful. Thank you very much! Your Health Minister's address is below.
Also, advocacy continues to ensure that women in Canada with dense breasts can access screening ultrasound and that women in all provinces can self-refer. Please contact us if you are interested in advocating for increased ultrasound access for women with dense breasts. We are currently working on an advocacy tool kit. Stay tuned for our national advocacy campaign this fall.