VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – British Columbia will become the first province in Canada to routinely include breast density information to women and their doctors or nurse practitioners, Health Minister Adrian Dix says.
He claims it’s a move that will give women better options when it comes to breast health.
“B.C. Cancer’s breast screening program will include breast density information with all screening mammogram results sent to B.C. women and their primary care providers,” he said in a phone interview with NEWS 1130. “This part of it is new in Canada.”
Dix adds B.C. was the first province to have a breast screening program, marking 30 years, and this is just another first.
The new information will start to be included in screening results starting in the middle of October.
“I think that’s a change that a lot of women have been calling for,” he said. “We had an independent review of it to make sure that it was advocacy and science, and advocacy and science supported this decision and we’re going forward.”
He believes this move will allow more direct access to information. UBC and the B.C. Cancer Research Centre were tasked with conducting the review, he adds.
Previously, breast density information has always been available, but Dix explains it had to be requested.
“It really wasn’t provided directly, either to women or their doctors, so it had to be done by request. Now it’s simply the case that all women will receive this information when they receive results from their mammograms, and I think that empowers people to make decisions and to have discussions with their doctors, and their nurse practitioners, and their providers about their own health, and I think that’s a really positive development.”
Dix adds this isn’t the end, and says a new public information campaign will be launched by January.
“It’s important, I think, that when you get information about health that you have a place to go and information to put it into context.”
A number of other recommendations from the review will be implemented in the coming months, including those new educational and support tools to monitor breast density.
According to the B.C. Cancer Agency, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer for women in B.C. Dix says the province will be monitoring what kind of impact, if any, providing breast density information to people more regularly will have.