Alberta lowers breast cancer screening age from 50 to 45

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Alberta lowers breast cancer screening age from 50 to 45

A new Cancer Treatment Center in Calgary is expected to open in 2024.

Alberta is lowering the age at which breast cancer screening is recommended from 50 to 45. Alberta Health Services (AHS) predicts that this decision, which took effect in October, will create a surplus of 12,000 mammograms per year.

Lowering the age for breast cancer screening in Alberta is exactly one of the initiatives we're pivoting on, says AHS researcher Miranda Fidler-Benaoudia, who leads a cancer research project in adolescents and young adults.

By detecting these cancers at an earlier stage, we reduce the risk of a child losing their mother or a family becoming financially unstable.

Earlier this fall, AHS also launched a pilot project to screen 3,000 patients for lung cancer using CT scans.

Home-use screening kits and mobile mammogram clinics are also part of AHS programs. In 2021, 182,000 Albertans were living with cancer, and more than 19,000 new diagnoses are made each year, according to data from the province.

There have been remarkable advances in [the field of] cancer over the past decade. There are better treatments, emerging technologies, but the best way to treat cancer is to catch it early, says Alberta Cancer Foundation CEO Wendy Beauchesne.

The foundation is the fundraising partner for all 17 AHS Cancer Centers. Wendy Beauchesne says the demand for help, financial or otherwise, has reached an all-time high. We know Albertans want the best treatment as close to home as possible.

Last fiscal year, 22,500 cancer surgeries were performed, an increase of 12% compared to the level before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the AHS. In Calgary, a new Cancer Treatment Center is expected to open in 2024.

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