THUNDER BAY – HEALTH – Women across the province are being encouraged to get screened for breast cancer as part of a one-day breast cancer screening marathon called ‘Mammothon’. In the Northwest region, four Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) sites are participating either by offering extended hours for appointments or walk-in screening.
“Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian women. That’s why getting a mammogram to be screened for breast cancer is so important, because it can catch cancer early,” explains Tarja Heiskanen, Manager of Screening and Assessment Services at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC). “For women who haven’t been screened yet, or are overdue for a mammogram, Mammothon is a great opportunity to go and take care of business.”
Originally created in the Toronto area, Mammothon has helped to increase breast cancer screening numbers in the province by increasing access to screening services through extended hours and walk-in screenings. Last year, 835 women were screened during Mammothon and this year’s goal is to screen 1,000 women.
Current breast cancer screening guidelines in Ontario recommend that women, between the ages of 50 and 74 years, get screened for breast cancer with a mammogram every 2 years. In Northwestern Ontario, the latest screening statistics show that only 57.9% of eligible women had a mammogram in the past 2 years.
As an added incentive, women in Northwestern Ontario who get screened during the Mammothon event will receive a gift bag and a chance to win a gift certificate to a local salon or spa. “We are hoping that these incentives help to encourage women to get screened. We’re trying to promote the importance of making time for yourself and your health by pairing cancer screening with spa-inspired gifts,” explains Heiskanen. “Women seem to put many other things before their health, and we want women to make today the day that they put themselves first.”
Walk-in mammogram appointments for eligible women are available today only at the following OBSP sites:
Thunder Bay Diagnostics: walk-in appointments between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm
Riverside Health Care in Fort Frances: walk-in between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm
Lake of the Woods District Hospital in Kenora: walk-in between 3:00 pm and 9:00 pm
For more information on Mammothon and information on participating sites, visit www.mammothon.ca.