On December 1, 2016 the Nova Scotia Breast Screening Pro-gram (NSBSP) celebrated its 25th Anniversary with a reception at the IWK Health Centre. Estab-lished in 1991, the NSBSP was the fifth provincial program in Canada to offer organized breast screening; today all ten provinces and the Northwest and Yukon Territories have organized breast screening programs and are part of the Canadian Breast Cancer Screening Initiative.
Statistics show that one out of eight women in Nova Scotia will develop breast cancer in her lifetime and that the early detection of breast cancer through screening produces better out-comes. The Nova Scotia Breast Screening Program was developed to assist in the early detec-tion of breast cancer and offers women information on breast health and mammography (breast X-ray).
“Women of all ages who are screened through the NSBSP are shown to have a 40 percent de-crease in mortality from breast cancer compared to those who are not screened,” says Dr. Judy Caines, Medical Director, NSBSP. “In the past 25 years mortality from breast cancer in Nova Scotia has gone from the highest in the country to one of the lowest.”
Nova Scotia is in a unique position in that all breast imaging in the province, screening or diag-nostic, is captured under the umbrella of the provincial breast screening program in a single database. It is also the only province to eliminate opportunistic screening meaning that asymptomatic women are imaged in the screening program and not in the diagnostic system, freeing up diagnostic appointments for symptomatic women who need to be seen at a greater urgency.
Since its inception the NSBSP has performed over one million screens on over 210,000 women. The combined screening plus diagnostic participation rate in Nova Scotia for women 50-69 years of age is currently 62.7 percent.
“Mammography is the gold standard for breast screening and we are so fortunate that this pro-gram is in place ensuring women are receiving exceptional services,” says Jocelyn Vine, Vice President, Patient Care & Chief Nursing Executive at the IWK Health Centre.
The NSBSP is a provincial program established by the Department of Health and Wellness and is currently governed and operated by the IWK Health Centre.Share