Thomson: Sign up you or your loved ones for regular mammograms

Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure goes this Sunday, Oct. 4 at City Park in Kelowna.

Each year hundreds of thousands of Canadians lace up their shoes for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure, held in cities right across the country. They do it to raise money for research, education and advocacy work, but also to increase awareness—because breast cancer is the most common type of cancer diagnosed in Canadian women.

Luckily, B.C. has one of the lowest incidence rates and has the second lowest mortality rate of breast cancer in the country. This year an estimated 3,600 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in B.C., and an estimated 610 will die from it. However, British Columbia is a national leader in cancer prevention and treatment.

Mammograms are important. They help find cancer in its earliest stages, when there are more treatment options and a better chance for successful treatment. In fact, research has shown a 25 per cent reduction in deaths from breast cancer among women who are screened through the Screening Mammography Program.

Sometimes, access to mammography can be an issue for those in rural and remote communities. B.C.’s mobile mammography service visits more than 120 rural communities across B.C., including more than 35 First Nations communities annually, and performs about 10 per cent of the total number of screening mammograms in B.C. each year.

Earlier this year, our government unveiled a new digital mobile mammography program. While similar to a film mammogram in that both use X-rays, the film is replaced by solid-state detectors that convert the image to a digital one. Digital mammograms can be beneficial for viewing dense breast tissue, most commonly found in younger women.

Now that digital mammography has gone from the ‘emerging’ technology to the ‘standard,’ equipment used in the Screening Mammography Program is gradually being replaced with digital mammography machines as well.

Screening mammograms are available for women ages 40 and over, every two years. If you are interested in making a mammogram appointment, you can go online to find a clinic near you—just visit www.screeningbc.ca/breast and look for the ‘Clinic Locator.’ This will show local health care facilities offering mammogram services, as well as dates when a mobile unit might be in your community.

These programs and technologies are an example of how we are committed to providing health services and timely access to mammography breast screening to all communities.

Breast cancer is an issue that has affected many of us. Whether you’re a patient, a survivor, or a family member or friend of someone with breast cancer—please consider taking part in this year’s Run for the Cure in Kelowna or supporting someone who will be participating.

This one-kilometre or five-kilometre walk or run will take place on Sunday, Oct. 4 at City Park in Kelowna. For more information, call 1-844-786-2873 or email kelowna@cbcfrun.org. You can also register online at http://cibcrunforthecure.supportcbcf.com.

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