Cancer Screening Guidance
This information is meant to be educational. These are guidelines only; please schedule an appointment for specific questions and other recommendations based on your personal history.
Breast Cancer Screening
Recommended screening guidelines for breast cancer vary depending on a person’s age and risk factors. In general, it is recommended that women aged 50-74 have a screening mammogram every two years. Women aged 40-49 and women aged 75 and older may benefit from ongoing screening depending on select circumstances. Women who have a first-degree relative with breast cancer aged between 40 and 74 should get a mammogram every year. Women with known or suspected BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations should get tested every year from the age of 30. Women who have had breast implants should get screening as per the above guidelines.
Colon Cancer Screening
If you have a colon and are between the ages of 50-74, you generally qualify for colorectal cancer screening. Past history and family history may change the recommended screening test.
Lung Cancer Screening
11% of Canadians smoke regularly. Smoking greatly increases the risk of lung cancer. Lung cancer screening is recommended to individuals who are: 1. Current or past smokers. 2. Are between 55-74 years old. 3. Have smoked for 20 years or more.
Cervical Cancer Screening
The HPV virus is the root cause of 95% of all cases of cervical cancer. HPV is the most common virus affecting the genitourinary tract. It can affect all persons shortly after they become sexually active. If you have ever had any genital skin-to-skin contact with another person of any gender and you have a cervix, then you are at risk of cervical cancer and screening is recommended starting at the age of 25. In the absence of any past abnormalities on Pap tests, screening is generally recommended every three years.
Prostate Cancer Screening
If you have a prostate, you have some risk of developing prostate cancer. Prostate cancer screening, however, remains a controversial topic and to date, there is no true screening test for prostate cancer. Many people may have heard of a blood test called PSA. This is often wrongly described as a screening test. PSA is a protein made within the prostate of all men of reproductive age. Higher than normal levels of PSA found in the blood may indicate the presence of cancer, however it is not a marker of cancer and has many other causes. When looking only at PSA levels, there is a high risk of both "false positive" and "false negative" results that can cause confusion for both physicians and patients. In addition to this, many men will develop prostate cancer which poses little to no risk to their overall health. As such, people will often receive unnecessary investigations and treatments which carry risks such as impotence and incontinence which have their own effects on quality of life. MSP does not cover routine prostate cancer screening with PSA testing. We are not currently offering PSA screening though hope to start offering it in select circumstances soon. If you are experiencing any symptoms of an enlarged prostate such as weak urination, difficulty voiding, or nighttime awakening to void, please arrange a physical exam at a local clinic, Urgent Care Centre or Emergency Department.