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Province to lower age for regular breast cancer screenings in Ontario to 40

Ontario is lowering the age for regular, publicly funded breast cancer screenings from 50 to 40, which Health Minister Sylvia Jones says will help with early detection.

Jones is set to make the announcement Monday and says the expansion will mean an additional 130,000 mammograms are completed in the province each year.

The move follows a draft recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force earlier this year that said screenings in that country should start at 40 instead of 50, because evidence suggests that would have a moderate benefit in reducing deaths.

The change in Ontario means that starting in the fall of 2024, eligible women, non-binary, trans and two-spirit people between the ages of 40 and 74 can self refer for a mammogram every two years.

People can already get regular mammograms and breast MRIs between the ages of 30 and 69 if they qualify as high risk, such as those with a family history of breast cancer or people who carry certain genes known to increase the risk of breast cancer.

The ministry says that between now and next fall, sites that offer breast cancer screening will hire new staff and work with the government to develop a public reporting system so patients can see provincewide wait times.

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