screening letters were sent out by Screening Programs to Albertans in 2018.
Welcome to Screening for Life
Screening for Life is provided by Alberta Health Services Screening Programs and exists for one very important reason: to see fewer deaths from breast, cervical and colorectal cancer in our province.
Working together with healthcare providers, one of the goals of Screening Programs is to strengthen cancer screening across the province. These programs provide information, education to support Albertans in making informed decisions about cancer screening. When we find breast, cervical and colorectal cancers early, we have the best chance of treating them. And in the case of cervical and colorectal cancer, we can often prevent cancer altogether.
Screening Programs currently consists of three organized programs:
- the Alberta Breast Cancer Screening Program
- the Alberta Cervical Cancer Screening Program
- the Alberta Colorectal Cancer Screening Program
These programs encourage people who have no symptoms to get screened for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer in order to find changes early—and treat them if necessary.
If you’re wondering why our programs are limited to these cancers, it’s because right now there isn’t enough evidence to show that screening for other types of cancer across large populations will effectively reduce the number of cases of cancer or deaths and may cause more harm than benefit to those being screened. However, tests for cancers such as prostate, skin or ovarian cancer may still be useful on an individual basis depending on your personal history. If you have any concerns about these other types of cancer, speak to your healthcare provider.
What we do
Screening Programs provides and coordinates many different services. One of them is the website you’re reading right now, designed to give Albertans the facts and information they need to make informed decisions about cancer screening.
We also communicate directly with Albertans about screening by mailing out a variety of letters. The first letter you may receive introduces you to the program and the need for screening, followed by reminder letters letting you know when you’re overdue for screening and result letters to eligible men and women informing you of your test results. We know that everyone is busy, and it’s easy to overlook check-ups or follow-up appointments. This important part of the program tries to help you to stay on top of your health.
While we continue to expand our letter communication with Albertans, right now they’re in different stages in different parts of Alberta. See our program maps to find out which letters we send to your area.
At a glance, here’s how our programs support the goal of strengthening cancer screening for men and women and reducing the number of cancer-related deaths:
- by providing increased access to cancer screening services across the province
- by sending a variety of letters such as: introductory, reminder and result letters to eligible Albertans
- by helping healthcare providers ensure that patients with abnormal screening results get the follow-up care they need
- by offering timely and accurate information and resources to the public and healthcare providers
- by helping to ensure the quality of every stage in the screening process
How the Screening Programs work
Each screening program operates differently. Here’s what to expect:
Alberta Breast Cancer Screening Program (ABCSP)
- If you’re a woman between the ages of 50 and 74, you are automatically included in the program.
- Once you turn 50, and if you haven’t had a screening mammogram already, you’ll be sent a letter letting you know that you’re at an age when screening is important and inviting you to get screened.
- For all women 40 years and older, once you’ve had a screening mammogram, the clinic will mail your results to you.
Alberta Cervical Cancer Screening Program (ACCSP)
- If you’re a woman age 25 and older, you are automatically included in the program.
- If you haven’t already had a Pap test, you’ll receive a letter inviting you to get screened.
- Once you have a Pap test, the program will mail your results to you.
- Although routine screening is not recommended for women under 25, women 21 to 24 years old who are screened will receive result letters from the program.
- You and your healthcare provider get reminders if you need further tests.
- You’ll also receive reminder letters if you’re overdue for your next Pap test.
- At this time, the program is in different stages of operation throughout the province.
Alberta Colorectal Cancer Screening Program (ACRCSP)
- If you’re a man or woman between the ages of 50 and 74, you’ll be automatically included in the program.
- As soon as you complete your first FIT home stool test, the program will send you a result letter.
To take part in any of the programs, simply start getting screened and stay up to date with any follow-up tests that may be needed. And make sure if there are any changes to your name or address to contact the Alberta Healthcare Insurance Plan.
How you got on the list
You may be wondering how we get your name and address. Alberta Health provides Screening Programs with the names and addresses of eligible Albertans so that we can send you letters about cancer screening. All of this is strictly governed by the Health Information Act to ensure your privacy.
If you’ve recently moved or changed your name, see how to change your information.
Your privacy is protected
You can be confident that your information is kept secure, private and confidential at all times. Just like your doctor or other healthcare providers, all of the staff working in Screening Programs are bound by the Health Information Act. As well, our staff have access only to your cancer screening results and follow-up test results – they do not access any of your other health information.
If you’d rather not receive letters from Screening Programs, learn about program participation options.