Save the Pumpkins this October!

Save the Pumpkins: get checked for cancer this October

The Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant (HNHB) Regional Cancer Program is reminding everyone to “Save the Pumpkins” and book a mammogram. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and so there is no better time to get screened. Life is busy and a lot has been put on hold, but it’s important to stay up to date with all cancer screening tests.

Events in the last three years have caused many delays and self-care may not have been possible.  Following the reduction in some cancer screening due to the pandemic, approximately 31,000 residents are overdue for breast screening across the HNHB Region. Get back on track by booking a mammogram at a local Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) site (1.800.668.9304, scheduling a Pap test with a healthcare provider and/or ordering an at-home colon kit. Anyone wanting more information can also find out their cancer risk by visiting

 Breast Cancer in Ontario

  • Breast cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in Ontario women
  • One in 8 women will get breast cancer in their lifetime. Breast cancer has one of the highest survival rates of all cancer types in Ontario.
  • The chance of getting breast cancer increases with age. In Ontario, breast cancer usually develops later in life, with over 83% of cases diagnosed in women over age 50.
  • Every year, close to 12,000 Ontario women will get breast cancer and about 2,000 will die from it.
  • Only 5% to 10% of women with breast cancer have a family history of the disease.
  • Fewer than 1 out of 100 women are at high risk of getting breast cancer.

Benefits of cancer screening

Cancer screening helps find cancer early before you have symptoms and before it spreads, when it is easier to treat. Early detection may mean less treatment and less time spent recovering. The earlier a cancer is detected, the better your chance of survival.

Research shows that a woman between the ages of 50 and 69 who regularly gets screened with mammography can reduce her risk of dying from breast cancer by 21 percent.

Who should be screened?

Breast Cancer

The OBSP recommends that most eligible women, trans and non-binary people ages 50 to 74 get screened with mammography every 2 years. Women aged 30 to 69 years who have been identified as being at high risk for breast cancer should have a screening mammogram and breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) every year. Ontario residents at average risk for breast cancer who are 50 to 74* 74 years of age and have the following should also get screened:

  • no acute breast symptoms
  • no personal history of breast cancer
  • not had a mammogram within the last 11 months

* Women over age 74 can be screened within the OBSP; however, they are encouraged to make a personal decision about breast cancer screening in consultation with their healthcare provider. The OBSP will not recall women over age 74 to participate in the program. There isn’t enough high-quality scientific evidence to support screening women older than age 74 regularly.

Ontario residents at high risk for breast cancer aged 30 to 69 years who have a referral from their physician, have no acute breast symptoms and fall into one of the following risk categories should also get screened:

  • They have a genetic mutation that puts them at high risk for breast cancer.
  • They have refused genetic testing, and have a parent, sibling or child with a genetic mutation that puts them at high risk for breast cancer.
  • They have a family history that indicates a lifetime risk of breast cancer that is greater or equal to 25 percent confirmed through genetic assessment.
  • They received radiation therapy to the chest before 30 years of age and at least eight years ago as treatment for another cancer or condition (e.g., Hodgkin’s disease).

CALL 1-800-668-9304 to book a mammogram at a local Ontario Breast Screening Program location or click here to see a list of locations throughout the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Region.