Dec 10, 2018
By Jane Brown
New Canadian guidelines for breast cancer screening have been designed to give women more of a voice in their healthcare decisions.
The guidelines, released Monday by the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care, encourage women aged 40 to 74 to discuss breast cancer screening with their doctors and make a shared decision about whether to get a mammogram based in part on a woman’s preferences.
The previous guidelines from 2011 recommended against women aged 40 to 49 having routine mammograms, while those aged 50 to 74 were advised to get the screening test every two to three years.
Task force vice-chair Doctor Ainsley Moore notes that while mammography offers the benefit of somewhat reducing the risk of death from breast cancer, the test can also result in significant harms such as false positives. Moore says this can cause women unnecessary distress, and can lead to additional testing and possibly an invasive biopsy.