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Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Regular Screenings Help Save Lives

October is breast cancer awareness month, and it is estimated that 1 in 8 Canadian women will develop breast cancer during their lifetime. Each year, more than 7,000 patients are screened for breast cancer through the Queensway Carleton Hospital’s Diagnostic Imaging department. Early detection is key in all diagnoses, especially in cancer, which is why QCH opened a new mammography unit with digital tomosynthesis (3D) capabilities in 2020. Thanks to our generous QCH Foundation donors, $800,000 was raised to fund this critical piece of equipment with a lifespan of 10 years.

“Please don’t forget to book your appointment for a mammogram. Doing a breast self-exam is important to become familiar with your breasts in order better recognize a change, but it is not a replacement for having breast imaging performed,” explains Stacey Boyce, lead mammography technologist at QCH. “Having yearly or biennial mammograms increases your chances of early detection, which subsequently can lead to better response to treatment and outcome.”

Regular mammograms are an important tool doctors can use to help find breast cancer early, sometimes up to three years before it can be felt. Through 3D tomosynthesis there is an increase in early detection rates for breast cancer, and currently, at QCH, we are using it for patients returning for recalls after their regular screening. By using this technology, we are decreasing the number of additional images required, reducing patient discomfort.

Thousands of patients rely on mammograms for accurate and timely diagnoses and with your support, more lives will be saved.