Defer Cancer Screening during COVID-19 Pandemic

In alignment with the Pandemic Planning Clinical Guideline for Patients with Cancer provided to us by Ontario Health (Cancer Care Ontario) all routine cancer screening in the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Regional Cancer Program is deferred for period of at least three months.

This includes:

  • Screening mammography through the Ontario Breast Screening Program;
  • Screening mammography, MRI, and ultrasound through the High Risk Ontario Breast Screening Program;
  • All screening pap tests in primary care; and
  • Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) with ColonCancerCheck via Lifelabs.  (NOTE: Lifelabs will not send out FIT kits to patients until further notice)

Correspondence letters sent from Ontario Health (Cancer Care Ontario) that encourage people to get screened for cancer have been paused during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes all invitations, invitation reminders, recalls, and recall reminder letters, as well as unsatisfactory results (these are tests that could not be tested by laboratories and correspondence encourages people to get screened again) for the Ontario Cervical Screening Program and ColonCancerCheck program beginning the week of March 23. All other cancer screening result letters (normal and abnormal) will continue to be sent during the pandemic.

Referral pathways will still be available for patients that have been screened positive with highly suspicious findings (e.g. abnormal screening mammograms will be followed with additional imaging or biopsy; high-grade cervical dysplasia will be seen in colposcopy, abnormal FIT results will referred on to colonoscopy). In addition, care for symptomatic patients will also be prioritized at this time.