N.B. can now self-refer themselves for mammograms

Women seeking a mammogram to screen for breast cancer can now self-refer themselves to New Brunswick’s cancer screening program.

Officials confirmed that the new screening option takes into consideration women who may not have a primary health-care provider.

The treatments, they said, are also less invasive.

“Breast cancer is a formidable foe, and we know that early detection is our best weapon,” said Daryl Steeves, interim VP professional services with Horizon Health Network.

“This initiative, simply put, will save lives, increasing the chances of survival for New Brunswick women in this high-risk age group,”

Steeves said it empowers women to take control of their health and ensure they can receive timely care.

Figures suggest breast cancer is the leading cause of death for women in their 40s, accounting for 17.5 per cent of all breast cancer deaths.

While breast cancer is not as common in younger, premenopausal women, it can be more aggressive.

In these cases, early detection is critical to increase the chances of survival.

“With early detection comes less aggressive treatments and a better quality of life for the patient and their family,” said Sherry Wilson, minister responsible for addictions and mental health services.

“This will allow women who are diagnosed to return to a normal life sooner.”

Eligible participants will be able to self-refer by contacting one of the screening sites in their area.

The program will be in place early next year.

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