If you have symptoms like a breast lump, these recommendations do not apply to you. Please talk to a healthcare provider.

Public Resources. Breast Cancer (Update) - Draft recommendations

Breast cancer screening – Draft recommendations

The facts about breast cancer screening may be surprising. There are both benefits and harms of breast cancer screening.

Breast cancer screening is a personal choice.

We want to give you the information you need to make the decision that’s right for you.

The draft recommendations and decision-making tools will be open for public comment until August 30, 2024.

What is screening?

Checking for a disease when there are no symptoms

Screening is not

A diagnostic test used when there are symptoms, like a breast lump

Who are the recommendations for?

  • Women (people assigned female at birth) aged 40 and over at average or moderately increased risk**.
  • They are not for those with a personal or extensive family history of breast cancer or genetic mutations that would increase breast cancer risk

Other populations

  • The recommendations do not apply to the following groups and women should talk to a health care provider if they:
    • have a potential symptom, like a lump
    • feel they may be at high risk
    • are under 40
    • are transgender women

Key recommendation

We recommend that women aged 40 to 74 get the information about benefits and harms of breast cancer screening to make the decision that’s right for them. This should include how age, family history, race and ethnicity, and breast density (if known) may impact benefits and harms of screening.

Read the specific recommendations here.

Discussion tools

If a woman aged 40-74 is given this information and wants to be screened, they should be offered mammography screening every 2-3 years.

“We all want to find ways to reduce the burden of this disease and improve outcomes. People may find that information about breast cancer screening is surprising – there are potential benefits to screening, but there are also harms. We want women to have all the information they need to make the decision that’s right for them.”

Dr. Guylène Thériault, a family physician, teacher of evidence-based medicine and chair of the Task Force and breast cancer working group.

The evidence

These recommendations are based on a comprehensive evidence review of more than 165 studies, including recent observational studies, randomized controlled trials, mathematical modelling, data from Statistics Canada and other sources to ensure the Task Force had the most recent evidence for the draft recommendations.

The guideline working group included four breast cancer content experts (a medical oncologist, a radiation oncologist, a surgical oncologist, a radiologist), three patient partners, as well as family physicians, nurse practitioners, evidence review teams and other experts.

**Moderately increased risk: People with dense breast category C or D or moderate family history (no more than one first degree or two second degree relatives diagnosed after 50). Learn more.

Public Tools and Resources

What is screening?

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News release

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Fact vs Fiction

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Additional Guidelines & Tools

About Task Force

About Us

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Our Methodology

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Task Force History

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Guideline Development Process

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Org Chart

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