A group of women standing together

Memo-Mamo

Detect breast cancer early and improve your chances of recovery through breast cancer screening with resources for eligible women in Quebec.
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Women in Quebec aged 50-69 are eligible for a mammogram to screen for breast cancer. Women from underserved communities often don’t have access to information about mammograms or the provincial resources available. The Canadian Cancer Society is committed to providing inclusive and diversified services for all women in Quebec. 

Taking care of your breast health starts with understanding the benefits and limitations of screening for breast cancer, why you should get screened, and how to get a mammogram if you live in Quebec and are eligible.

Importance of breast cancer screening

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women in Canada, with 1 in 8 estimated to be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. 

However, since 1986 the death rate of breast cancer has been cut in half, through continued research and improved measures for early detection and treatments.  Now, approximately 88% of women diagnosed with breast cancer can survive at least 5 years following a diagnosis.

By getting screened for breast cancer, you can improve your chances of breast cancer being detected early, before symptoms even develop, when it is easiest to treat.

Why should I get a mammogram every two years?

Because it's the best way to detect breast cancer.

A mammogram can detect breast cancer early, even before you’ve noticed symptoms, lowering your risk of dying from cancer.

Our breast cancer screening tool can help you to decide if you should have a mammogram to screen for breast cancer.

A mammogram is a low-energy x-ray of the breast tissue that provides detailed images of the breast from different angles.
You will be greeted by a female medical imaging technologist. For the examination, the breast is placed between two plastic compression plates, which are pressed together to flatten the breast. The procedure may cause some discomfort, but this usually only lasts a few seconds. Two x-rays are needed for each breast.

Breast tissue compression results in clearer images while minimizing the amount of radiation used as much as possible.

You will feel discomfort for approximately 30 seconds for each breast.

How to get a mammogram in Quebec

All Quebec women aged 50 to 69 receive a letter from the Quebec Breast Cancer Screening Program (PQDCS), which you use to book an appointment for a mammogram.

You can receive a mammogram at a clinic or a screening centre.

A list of designated screening centres is included with the letter from the Quebec Breast Cancer Screening Program.

The Government of Quebec also provides a list of all designated screening centres in the province.

Are you aged 50 to 69 but haven’t received your letter?

If you are living in Quebec, please contact your local PQDCS regional services coordinating centre.

Are you under 50 and interested in getting a mammogram?

Speak to your healthcare provider about your personal risk for breast cancer and the benefits and limitations of mammography.

If you have any other questions about how to get a mammogram in Quebec, please visit the Ministry of Health and Social Services website for more information on the Quebec Breast Cancer Screening Program (in French and English).

Quebec breast cancer screening letter

All Quebec women aged 50 to 69 are automatically registered in the Quebec Breast Cancer Screening Program.

After receiving your letter to book an appointment for a mammogram, contact your local designated screening centre.

If you need help understanding the letter from the Quebec Breast Cancer Screening Program (PQDCS), please review these definitions of some of the keywords:
Breast cancer is a cancerous (malignant) tumour that starts in the cells of the breast, which can grow into and destroy nearby tissue. It can also spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.
Screening tests help find some types of cancer before you have any symptoms. It’s important to have these tests, even if you feel fine and you have a healthy lifestyle. They’re part of your regular medical care.

A mammogram is a breast x-ray that detects cancer. It is the best screening procedure for breast cancer.

According to the Government of Québec, mammography is the only screening method that helps reduce the number of breast cancer deaths. (Site web du Gouvernement du Québec)

The Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux launched the Québec Breast Cancer Screening Program (PQDCS) in May 1998.

The PQDCS recommends that women aged 50 to 69 have a mammogram done every 2 years. A mammogram is the only screening test that can reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer.

Since the beginning of the PQDCS, the objective has been to reduce breast cancer deaths in women between the ages of 50 and 69 by 25%. Results have been very promising so far.

According to the Collège des médecins du Québec, a prescription is a written direction by a doctor, dentist or other medical professional authorized by law.

They are typically for medications, treatments, examinations, or care, to be given to a person or group of persons, as well as how they should be given.

An x-ray is an imaging test that uses small doses of radiation to produce pictures of internal organs and structures of the body.

Frequently asked questions

Yes. During the test, you will only be around women.

To book an appointment, you must contact a designated screening centre. A list of designated screening centres is included with the letter from the Quebec Breast Cancer Screening Program.

You can also review the Government of Quebec’s list of all designated screening centres in the province.

Please refer to the screening letter section above to listen to an audio version of the letter is available which explains the information in the letter.
Visit what is breast cancer for more information.
You can call the Canadian Cancer Society's Cancer Information Helpline toll-free at 1-888 939-3333. Our service is available Monday to Friday in English and French. For other languages, we can access an interpreter service.
Yes, but please call your designated screening centre to check the COVID-19 related public health measures in place when booking your appointment.
Yes. Please call the Canadian Cancer Society's Cancer Information Helpline at 1-888-939-333 and someone can help you.

If you are 40 to 49 years:

  • In Canada, national guidelines indicate that women between the ages of 50 and 74 benefit the most from regular breast cancer screenings through mammography. However, the benefits for women under 50 are still unclear.
  • If you are under 50 and would like to get a mammogram, start by speaking to your healthcare provider about the benefits and limitations of regular screenings through mammography. Be sure to mention your family or personal history of the disease, if any. Your history may warrant screening at a younger age or at shorter intervals.

If you are 75 or older:

  • Speak to your healthcare provider about whether having a mammogram is right for you.

Our resources can help you make informed decisions about treatments and take greater control over your health and the health of your family.

Booklets

Should I be screened for breast cancer

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