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Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP)

 

The Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) is a province-wide, organized cancer screening program that provides high-quality breast cancer screening throughout Ontario to 2 groups of women. The program recommends that:

  • most women ages 50 to 74 be screened every 2 years with mammography
  • women ages 30 to 69 who are confirmed to be at high risk of getting breast cancer be screened once a year with a mammogram and breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (or,if MRI is not medically appropriate, screening breast ultrasound). Women ages 30 to 69 who meet any of the following criteria should talk to their doctor about referral to the High Risk Ontario Breast Screening Program:
    • Is known to have a gene mutation (e.g., BRCA1, BRCA2)
    • Is a first-degree relative (parent, brother, sister or child) of someone who has a gene mutation (e.g., BRCA1, BRCA2)
    • Has a personal or family history of breast or ovarian cancer
    • Has had radiation therapy to the chest to treat another cancer or condition (e.g., Hodgkin lymphoma) before age 30 and at least 8 years ago

Women should talk with their doctors about regular breast cancer screening. Studies show that women ages 50 to 74 who have regular mammograms have a lower risk of dying from breast cancer.

See the Ontario Breast Screening Program locations page for location and contact information.

Program Benefits

Screening mammography can find breast cancers when they are small, less likely to have spread (metastasized) to the lymph nodes and more likely to be successfully treated. Women ages 50 to 74 are encouraged to get screened through the Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) to receive all the program benefits.

Communication to Women and Healthcare Providers

  • Women eligible for screening through the OBSP are sent invitations to be screened in the OBSP, along with information about breast cancer screening and details on how to find an OBSP site.
  • Result letters are sent to women after their screening visit.
  • Women screened in the OBSP are sent recall and reminder letters when they are due for their next round of screening.
  • OBSP sites follow up on abnormal screening results and communicate both normal and abnormal results to a woman’s healthcare provider.

Coordination and Navigation

  • Arrange genetic assessment (if appropriate) for referrals to the High Risk OBSP.
  • Arrange mammography and breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) — or, if MRI is not medically appropriate, screening breast ultrasound — appointments at OBSP sites.
  • Discuss an appropriate screening recall time based on a woman’s screening result and risk factors.
  • OBSP assessment sites coordinate follow-up tests, track test results and provide navigation from screening test to final diagnosis for women with abnormal screening results.

Women at High Risk

The Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) screens women ages 30 to 69 who are identified as being at high risk for breast cancer. In addition to the benefits of the OBSP, the High Risk OBSP sites:

  • arrange genetic assessment (if appropriate) for referrals to the High Risk OBSP
  • book mammography and breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) — or, if MRI is not medically appropriate, screening breast ultrasound — appointments at OBSP sites

Find out more about the OBSP screening for women at high risk.

Increasing Screening Rates

To increase screening rates, we are working with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and other partners to:

  • more aggressively promote screening
  • use information technology and other supports to help primary care providers with screening
  • increase efforts to reach under-screened populations including new Canadians, people living in poverty, people without a family physician, First Nations, Métis, Inuit and other Aboriginal people

We aim to increase the proportion of Ontario women who have breast cancer screening, especially those from more vulnerable populations, by supporting local and regional innovative approaches to screening.