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When Should I Start Breast Screening?

Getting screened is an important first step to keeping your breasts healthy. Breast cancer will affect one in nine Canadian women and one in six breast cancers occur in women aged 40 to 49, so early detection is key. In fact, breast cancer deaths have decreased by 44% since 1987 thanks to early detection.

Regular mammography exams are the best way to find breast cancer early, sometimes up to two years before it can be felt. However, determining when to start screening and how often to be screened can be confusing. Alberta Health Care will cover one screening mammogram per year, starting at age 40, but there are no clear Canadian guidelines and provincial recommendations differ across provinces. Additionally, factors like age, family history, and breast density can influence both the frequency and the type of screening recommended.

To help ease this confusion, Mayfair Diagnostics created an online breast screening assessment at to try to answer some of the most common questions about breast screening for women in Alberta. Visitors to the site are asked eight short questions and their answers generate a personalized recommendation report, which outlines breast screening options, suggested frequency for screening, whether supplemental breast ultrasound screening might be beneficial, and more.

Please note that our online screening assessment has been designed for women. If you are male or transgender, we recommend that you speak to your health care practitioner to determine what type of, or if, breast imaging is right for you.

For more information about screening options and where to get screened, visit our Breast Imaging services page or contact if you have questions.

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