The purpose of breast screening is to find cancer at an early stage, when it is easier to treat. Screening is not a diagnostic test, but rather is designed to find cancer at an early stage among healthy people that are not showing signs of the disease. Breast cancer screening with mammography is recommended every 2 years for average-risk women aged 50 to 74. Breast cancer screening with mammography and breast MRI is recommended every year for women aged 30 to 69 who are identified as being at high risk for breast cancer.
Between 2013 and 2014, more than 58,000 eligible females between 50 and 74 years of age in Simcoe Muskoka received a screening mammogram with-in a 30-month period. The age-adjusted breast cancer screening participation rate among eligible Simcoe Muskoka females in 2013-2014 was 68%, which was significantly higher than the overall provincial participation rate of 65%. The Simcoe Muskoka breast cancer screening participation rates have remained relatively stable since 2007, fluctuating between 67 and 69 per cent of eligible females. The Simcoe Muskoka breast cancer screening participation rates have been significantly higher than the comparable provincial rates over this period of time.
Among women living in urban areas in Ontario between 2013 and 2014, breast cancer screening participation increased steadily and significantly as urban neighbourhood income quintiles rose.