Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ont. Women Unclear about When They Should Start Getting Mammograms: Poll

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ont. Women Unclear about When They Should Start Getting Mammograms: Poll

Article excerpt

Ont. women unclear on when to start mammograms

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TORONTO - A new poll suggests women in Ontario are unclear about the age at which they should start undergoing regular breast cancer screening.

The poll results suggest more women believe they should start having regular mammograms in their 40s than in their 50s, though the latter is actually the recommended age in Ontario.

The poll was conducted by pollster Ipsos Reid for the Ontario division of the Canadian Cancer Society.

It shows that 42 per cent of women polled thought they should start going for regular mammograms between the ages of 40 and 49, and only 32 per cent said the right time was after age 50.

The Canadian Cancer Society says women at average risk of developing breast cancer should have a screening mammogram every two years between the ages of 50 and 69.

The poll also found that 46 per cent of women didn't know that mammograms are the best way to check for breast cancer.

The confusion about the age at which screening should start is easy to understand. Different expert groups recommend different things when it comes to mammography, and even women who try to keep up with the latest advice may find it perplexing.

"There's a lot of information out there and it can be confusing to navigate through that information," agreed Joanne Di Nardo, senior manager for public issues with the Ontario division of the cancer society.

The fact the poll was conducted in Ontario only underscores the fact. Different provinces have different policies on when and how frequently women should be screened.

Cancer Care Ontario, the provincial government's cancer adviser, recommends that women over 50 should have regular mammograms, "generally every two years." It doesn't cap the recommended age group at 69.

And the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care, which advises primary care doctors on the preventive health-care tests and procedures they should offer patients, recommends screening mammograms every two to three years for women aged 50 to 69 and 70 to 74 -- though it acknowledges the evidence supporting regular screening for the older group is weak. …

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