FREDERICTON (GNB) – A new provincewide initiative ensures that breast density results are included in mammography reports and in the letters sent to women following routine screening.

“Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among New Brunswick women and is one of the leading causes of cancer-related death,” said Health Minister Dorothy Shephard. “Sharing breast density results with women will better inform and support them in monitoring their breast health.”

Women with high breast density have an increased risk of developing breast cancer. As screening mammography gradually begins to resume across the province, following the interruption of services due to the COVID-19 pandemic, women will start receiving letters with results that will include their breast density information and evidence-based communication and education material.

“Regular breast cancer screening can reduce breast cancer mortality rates by detecting tumors early. Adopting a streamlined approach to the reporting of breast density will further enhance the New Brunswick Breast Cancer Screening Program,” said Dr. Eshwar Kumar, New Brunswick Cancer Network medical officer. “Screening mammography is the most useful technique for early breast cancer detection in women with no symptoms.”

The New Brunswick Breast Cancer Screening Program encourages women between 50 and 74 to be screened every two years at one of the 14 screening mammography sites across the province. Women who are between these ages and who have no signs, symptoms or previous diagnosis of breast cancer can self-refer to breast cancer screening by contacting one of the screening sites.

“This is such excellent news for New Brunswick women,” said Kathy Kaufield, a breast cancer survivor from Quispamsis who led a #TellMe #DisMoi breast density notification campaign. “Having dense breasts increases a woman’s risk for breast cancer and makes cancer harder to see on a mammogram. Women who know their breast density can be more vigilant with their self exams, discuss screening options with their doctors and take steps to reduce their overall cancer risk.”