Measures to reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer include:
- risk reduction (primary prevention): reducing the risk of the disease occuring
- screening (secondary prevention): detecting breast cancers as early as possible.
A PBHS Prevention project team, with representatives from all of the PBHS partners, is working on both measures.
Many public and non-profit agencies provide women with information about breast cancer risk reduction. One of the objectives of the PBHS is to ensure that this information is consistent and evidence-based. The PBHS Prevention Team is working on consistent messages that can be used by all agencies.
To help communicate these messages, plans are now underway to create a breast cancer prevention social marketing strategy. This will be centred on a partnership website that contains clear, evidence-based messages to help women understand the most common risk factors for breast cancer, as well as information about screening and early detection.
The screening work of the PBHS is focused on updating BC’s current screening mammography policy. The objective is to ensure that the Screening Mammography Program of BC targets women who will receive the most benefit.
A BC Cancer Agency (BCCA) review of the screening mammography policy is currently underway, and is expected to be complete by June 2012. This review will include examination of the recommendations for breast cancer screening released by the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care in November 2011, as well as the results of a BCCA-commissioned evidence review that was already underway before the national Task Force began its work.
While the review of BC’s screening policy continues, the scope of BC’s screening mammography program remains the same: Healthy (asymptomatic) women of 40 to 79 can refer themselves to the program, and women older or younger who have a higher risk of developing breast cancer can get a mammogram if they have a doctor’s referral.
More information is available on the BC Cancer Agency Screening Mammography Program of BC website.
See the Prevention presentation made at the 2010 Provincial Breast Health Summit.
Read Prevention_discussion from participants at the 2010 Provincial Breast Health Summit.