Breast cancer screening and prevention

What you need to know about breast cancer, including when and where you should get screened and tips to help reduce your risk.

Why you should screen

When breast cancer is caught early:

  • most women (90%) recover fully after treatment
  • your cancer is less likely to spread
  • you may have more options for treating your cancer

Mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early. If you need treatment, your doctor will discuss options with you.

More information on breast cancer screening (available in 26 languages)

When you should screen

Breast cancer can happen at any age. In most cases, it occurs in women over the age of 50.

Use the tool to find out when you should get screened for breast cancer.

Time to screen tool

Where to go for screening

Ontario Breast Screening Program

Ontario offers a free screening program to help protect women from cancer. This program is run by Cancer Care Ontario. This program is for:

  • all women aged 50 to 74 years
  • women between the ages of 30 to 69 who are considered to be high risk

The service is covered by OHIP. You don’t need a doctor’s referral.

Hospitals and private health clinics

You must have a referral from a doctor.

Find locations to screen for breast cancer

Wait times

Use the tool and enter your postal code to see wait times for surgery, MRIs and CTs in your area.

Find out wait times


OHIP pays for screening at a publicly funded Ontario hospital or clinic if you’re either:

  • referred by a doctor
  • a member of the Ontario Breast Cancer Screening program

You pay for screening at a private clinic.

Tips to reduce your risk

  • maintain a healthy body weight
  • stay active
  • reduce alcohol intake
  • don’t smoke
  • limit your time on hormone replacement therapy
  • discuss any changes with your family doctor or nurse practitioner
  • most importantly, get screened
Updated: February 25, 2015