Oct 30, 2023
By Jane Brown
Ontario’s health minister is expected to announce on Monday the age for regular publicly funded breast cancer screenings is being reduced from 50 to 40 starting in the fall of 2024.
Sylvia Jones says the expansion will mean an additional 130,000 mammograms are completed in Ontario every year and will help with early detection.
The move follows a draft recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force earlier this year that said screenings in that country should start at 40 instead of 50, because evidence suggests that would have a moderate benefit in reducing early deaths.
The change in Ontario means that starting in the fall of next year, eligible women, non-binary, trans and two-spirit people between the ages of 40 and 74 can self refer for a mammogram every two years.
Regular mammograms and breast MRIs are already available in Ontario to those 30 and over if they qualify as high risk, such as those with a family history of breast cancer or people who carry certain genes known to increase the risk of breast cancer.
A statement from Ontario’s health ministry says that between now and Fall of 2024, sites that offer breast cancer screening will hire new staff and work with the government to develop a public reporting system so patients can see province wide wait times.