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Submission for: Market Place Magazine
Publication Date: October 2006
Author: Karen Kerker
Word Count: 452
Breast Screening Best Hope for Early Detection
Cancer is a word that conjures up a great deal of fear. It is often a diagnosis that begins a difficult journey of illness and treatment and thoughts about life and death. It can be a pivotal moment for many people.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Breast cancer continues to affect about one in nine women over a lifetime. Unlike some of the other cancers that afflict so many people, there is no definitive cause. There are risk factors, such as a family history, higher fat diets, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption and high levels of estrogen, but the truth is that for many women who get breast cancer, the only identifiable risk factor is that they are women.
If you are a woman over 50 years, you are eligible for the Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP), funded through the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care. This program of early detection is presently the best that we have to help save lives from breast cancer.
Breast screening involves a mammogram (a breast x-ray) and a thorough physical exam of the breasts. Because regular breast screening helps to find tumours earlier, the tumours are smaller and are less likely to have metastasized (or travelled) to other parts of the body.
It is recommended that women have their breasts screened every two years at a minimum. Some women will need to be screened every year. Once you are a client at the program, you will be sent a letter to remind you about future appointments.
There is no cost to attend the Ontario Breast Screening Program and you do not need a referral from your physician. The whole appointment will take about 45 minutes and you will receive your results in about two weeks. If you give your consent, your physician will also receive a copy of the results.
Breast screening, similar to cervical screening and colorectal screening, is not likely to be something that will be the highlight of your week. It may, however, similar to cervical screening and colorectal screening, save your life. It is presently our best breast defense.
If you are over 50 and you do not attend the Ontario Breast Screening Program, seriously consider calling to make an appointment. The only thing better might be to invite a friend or two to go with you.
For more information or to make an appointment at our local OBSP locations, call the Walkerton Centre at (519) 881-4030 or the Owen Sound site at (519) 376-8637. Both are located within the hospitals.
How wonderful it would be to truly make cancer history.
We work with the Grey Bruce community to protect and promote health