Screening for Breast Cancer

Cancer screening is testing done on people who may be at risk of getting cancer, but who have no symptoms and generally feel fine. Screening can find breast cancers when they are small, less likely to have spread and more likely to be treated successfully. People ages 50 to 74 have a lower risk of dying from breast cancer when they are screened regularly with mammograms.

Booking your appointment in Northumberland

People ages 50 to 74 can call the nearest Ontario Breast Screening Program location to make an appointment. A doctor or nurse practitioner referral is not needed.

OBSP sites offering mammogram appointments in Northumberland County include:

  • Campbellford Memorial Hospital: visit their website or call 705-653-3104
  • Northumberland Hills Hospital: visit their website or call 905-377-7795

If you think you may be at high risk for breast cancer, talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner about a referral to the High Risk Ontario Breast Screening Program based on family and/or medical history. If you do not have a family doctor or access to a nurse practitioner, call 811 to be connected with a primary care provider who will refer you for high risk breast cancer screening.

When to get screened

Breast cancer was expected to be the most common cancer diagnosed in Ontario women in 2018. Screening mammography can find breast cancers when they are small, less likely to have spread and more likely to be treated successfully. 

Your age and family medical history help determine when you should get screened:

  • If you are between the ages of 50 to 74, the Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) recommends that most people in your age group be screened every 2 years with mammography. OBSP sites in Northumberland County include locations at both Campbellford Memorial Hospital and Northumberland Hills Hospital.

  • If you are age 30 to 69 and meet any of the following requirements, talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner about referral to the High-Risk Ontario Breast Screening Program:
    • You are known to have a gene mutation that increases your risk for breast cancer (e.g., BRCA1, BRCA2, TP53, PTEN, CDH1)
    • You are a first-degree relative (parent, sibling, or child) of someone who has a gene mutation that increases their risk for breast cancer (e.g., BRCA1, BRCA2, TP53, PTEN, CDH1)
    • You have a personal or family history of breast or ovarian cancer
    • You have had radiation therapy to the chest to treat another cancer or condition (e.g., Hodgkin lymphoma) before age 30 and at least 8 years ago

For every 200 women screened in the Ontario Breast Screening Program, about 18 are referred for further tests and 1 will have breast cancer.

About Screening Mammograms

Mammography remains the best screening test for most people. 

A screening mammogram takes an X-ray picture of the breast and can find breast cancers when they are small, less likely to have spread and more likely to be treated successfully.

Mammograms are considered safe and use a low dose of radiation. The benefits of screening and finding cancer early are more important than any potential harm from the X-ray. Most people will have normal mammogram results.

How Effective Are Screening Mammograms?

Mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early. While it is possible that mammograms may miss some breast cancers, or that cancers may develop in the time between screens, many studies have shown that regular mammograms reduce the risk of dying from breast cancer.

About the Ontario Breast Screening Program

The Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) is a province-wide organized screening program that aims to reduce breast cancer mortality through regular screening. The program provides screening for most people ages 50 to 74, and for people ages 30 to 69 who are confirmed to be at high risk of developing breast cancer.

Eligibility and location for High Risk OBSP

The High Risk OBSP sites help people who may be at high risk of getting breast cancer to undergo genetic assessment. To learn about the eligibility requirements for the High Risk OBSP, see Breast Cancer Screening for Women at High Risk.

For people who have been confirmed to be at high risk of getting breast cancer, High Risk OBSP sites offer yearly screening mammograms and breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (or screening breast ultrasound if MRI is not medically appropriate). For people with abnormal screening results, the High Risk OBSP sites coordinate follow-up breast assessments (i.e., any additional tests they need).

While there are no High Risk OSBP sites in Northumberland County, there are several in neighbouring areas, including:

  • Lakeridge Health Corporation, Oshawa 
  • Peterborough Regional Health Centre, Peterborough 
  • Scarborough Health Network – Centenary, Scarborough 
  • Ross Memorial Hospital, Lindsay 

If you require transportation to a High Risk OBSP site, volunteer driver support is available. For details, visit Community Care Northumberland or call 1-866-768-7778. 

Helpful Resources