Breast cancer screening should start at age 40, Canadian Cancer Society says

By Nicole Ireland, The Canadian Press

The Canadian Cancer Society says all provinces and territories should lower the starting age for breast cancer screening to 40.  

The current guideline set by a national task force says screening for people at average risk for breast cancer should start at age 50. 

The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care is expected to revise that advice later this month, but the cancer society says it’s ultimately up to the provinces and territories. 

Some provinces already pay for mammograms starting at age 40, but the cancer society says it’s critical for women across the country to have the same access.

There’s growing evidence that beginning screens at 40 would detect more cases of breast cancer earlier, when chances of successful treatment are better.

It says one in eight women in Canada is expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.  

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 9, 2024. 

Canadian Press health coverage receives support through a partnership with the Canadian Medical Association. CP is solely responsible for this content.

Nicole Ireland, The Canadian Press

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