Breast cancer is the most common cancer in Canadian women. Screening for breast cancer is the process of looking for the disease before symptoms arise so it can be treated early.
In Ontario, mammography (a low-dose x-ray) is used to screen women at average risk for breast cancer. Women at high risk for breast cancer should be offered an adjunct (additional) test with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Health Quality Ontario Reviews Ultrasound Screening as an Adjunct to Mammography for Breast Cancer Screening
Ultrasound is an imaging method that uses sound waves and can be used to look for breast cancer missed by mammography. Although ultrasound might detect more potentially harmful cancers, it might also increase the frequency of false-positive test results (test results that incorrectly indicate that a particular condition is present). False-positive test results can lead to anxiety and unnecessary follow-up testing.
Health Quality Ontario examined the impact of ultrasound as an adjunct test to mammography for breast cancer screening in women at average risk and at high risk for breast cancer. We also researched patient experiences of inaccurate breast cancer screening results.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has accepted this recommendation.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has provided the following response: Health Quality Ontario’s recommendation aligns with the current standard of care delivered and funded through Cancer Care Ontario’s Ontario Breast Screening Program.