Studies by the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux and the Institut national de santé publique du Québec show the advantages, disadvantages and limitations of mammography.
The Québec Breast Cancer Screening Program (PQDCS) is for women aged 50 to 69. All women eligible for this program should learn about the advantages, disadvantages and limitations of mammography. Each can then make an informed decision about whether to participate in the PQDCS or not.
Women who participate in the Program when they turn 50 will be invited to have a mammogram every 2 years for a period of 20 years, when they reach 69.
Breast cancer screening every 2 years over a 20-year period:
Breast cancer screening every 2 years for 20 years can lead to:
Overdiagnosis is the discovery of a cancer that would never have been detected without screening. It can happen that a woman receives a diagnosis for cancer that would never have had an effect on her health or consequences on her life – like a cancer that develops very slowly or a benign cancer. This could happen to participants in the screening program because a mammogram detects breast cancer in the early stages of development.
However, given that it is still impossible to differentiate between harmless cancers and deadly ones, all cancers are treated. As such, women in the screening program could:
Breast cancer screening every 2 years for 20 years does not guarantee:
Also, a mammogram is an X-ray. Like all X-ray examinations, radiations are emitted. According to several studies, the risk of breast cancer due to radiation emitted during a mammogram is very low in women aged 50 to 69 who participate in screening.
In comparing 1,000 women aged 50 to 69 who participate in the screening program every 2 years for 20 years to 1,000 who do not participate, several differences are apparent.
Of 1,000 participants:
Of 1,000 non-participants:
In other words, of 1,000 women aged 50 to 69 screened every 2 years for 20 years:
Last update: August 2, 2016 12:01 PM
The information on this website by no means replaces the advice of a health professional. If you have questions regarding your health, contact Info-Santé 811 or see a health professional.