Screening for breast cancer

Last medical review:

Screening means checking for a disease in a group of people who don't show any symptoms of the disease. Screening tests help find breast cancer before any symptoms develop. When breast cancer is found and treated early, the chances of successful treatment are better.

Provincial and territorial screening programs use screening mammography, which is a procedure used to x-ray the breast. The image produced is called a mammogram. Screening mammography is a common and reliable way to find breast cancer early.

Women and trans, non-binary and gender-diverse people should be aware of the benefits and limitations of screening mammography based on their age and risks to help decide if it is right for them. Talk with your healthcare provider to help make your decision.

If you are 40 to 74 years old, have a mammogram every 2 years.

If you are 75 or older, talk to your healthcare provider about whether having a mammogram is right for you.

Not every province or territory offers mammograms through their organized program or by self-referral for people in their 40s. We are advocating to ensure that women and trans, non-binary and gender-diverse people at average risk have fair and timely access to breast cancer screening, no matter where they live.

Find out more about getting screened for breast cancer.

Expert review and references

  • Canadian Cancer Society | Société canadienne du cancer

Medical disclaimer

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