Cancer prevention and care
How to prevent and get help for cancer through Ontario’s health system.
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Learn your cancer risk. You can take action against cancer.
Visit MyCancerIQ.ca to:
- assess your personal risk of developing breast, cervical, colorectal, lung, melanoma (skin) and kidney cancer
- receive a free customized health action plan online
- get information on resources to help reduce your risk
Screen for cancer
Cancer screening is testing done on people who may be at risk of getting cancer, but who have no symptoms and generally feel fine. Cancer screening tests are not meant to diagnose cancer—instead, they help determine which people are more likely to have cancer or develop cancer in the future. In Ontario there are four province-wide cancer screening programs: breast, cervical, colorectal (commonly called “colon cancer” or “bowel cancer”) and lung.
Free cancer screening
- breast cancer - The Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) is a province-wide screening program designed to reduce breast cancer deaths through regular screening.
- cervical screening - The Ontario Cervical Screening Program (OCSP) is a province-wide screening program designed to reduce the risk of getting or dying from cervical cancer through regular screening.
- colorectal cancer – ColonCancerCheck is a province-wide screening program designed to reduce colorectal cancer deaths through regular screening.
- lung cancer - The Ontario Lung Screening Program is a province-wide screening program designed to reduce lung cancer deaths through regular screening of people at high risk of getting lung cancer.
Cancer screening tests
Your health care provider can recommend several tests to screen for different cancer types. Depending on what you are at risk for, your health care provider may recommend that you complete a:
- fecal immunochemical test (colon cancer)
- mammogram (breast cancer)
- pap test (cervical cancer)
- low-dose computed tomography (CT) scan (lung cancer)
Other screening available
Your doctor may or may not suggest regular screening for other cancers, such as prostate cancer. There may be a small fee for these tests.
When you should screen
Use the tool to find out when you should screen for breast, cervical or colon cancer.
Most cancers are diagnosed by a surgeon and a pathologist. Family doctors also play an important role in helping patients through all phases of the cancer journey.
The course of your treatment will be determined not only by the type and stage of cancer, but also by what treatments and services you choose.
For more information on Ontario Health (Cancer Care Ontario’s) diagnosis and treatment clinical programs please visit here.
- Survival rates in Ontario have improved over time for all cancers combined, though there is variation in survival by cancer type: close to 90% of patients with breast cancer, prostate cancer or melanoma are living more than five years after diagnosis compared to less than 25% of patients with pancreatic, lung or liver cancers.
- Overall cancer mortality rates in the province have been decreasing every year since the late 1980s.
- At the end of 2018, the number of Ontarians living with cancer diagnoses within the previous 10 years was over 410,000 - this is a nearly 30% increase from 2008.
Tips to prevent cancer
- eat a well-balanced diet (lots of fruit and vegetables and high-fibre, lower-fat foods)
- maintain a healthy body weight
- reduce alcohol intake
- be physically active
- don't smoke
- avoid direct sunlight and wear sunscreen when outdoors
Tell your doctor about:
- any close family members who have had cancer
- any unusual swellings or lumps
- any changes in your overall health
Your doctor can determine if you should begin screening.
Find a doctor
You can find a family doctor or nurse practitioner through the Health Care Connect program: