Ontario Lowering Eligibility Age for Breast Screening
The Ontario government is lowering the eligibility age of self-referral for publicly funded mammograms from 50 to 40 beginning in fall 2024.
The province says the expansion will help more than 305,000 people connect to screening services to detect and treat breast cancer sooner. It is estimated that this will add an additional 130,000 mammograms that can be completed per year.
“Nearly 12,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, and we know early detection and increased access to care saves lives,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “That is why our government is taking this important step today to expand the Ontario Breast Screening Program to connect more than 305,000 additional people to the services they need to ensure timely diagnosis and access to treatment as early as possible.”
By lowering the age of self-referral for mammograms, the province says eligible Ontarians aged 40-49 who don’t have a primary care provider will be able to connect to screening more easily by self-referring through any Ontario Breast Screen Program site. It also encourages more women to have conversations with their health care provider about their risk factors and benefits of screening to determine if it is right for them.
“Expanding screening for breast cancer is another step we’re taking to build a more connected and convenient health care system,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance. “The people of this province can have confidence as our government moves ahead with our responsible and targeted approach to building a strong Ontario, that we will continue to provide better services for you and your family.”
The province says OBSP sites will prepare for the expansion over the coming months by increasing capacity and working with the Ministry of Health to develop a public reporting tool that allows people to view appointment wait times across the province.