New Breast Cancer Screening Letter for Alberta Women 75+
As of February 2020, the Alberta Breast Cancer Screening Program (ABCSP) has begun sending notifications to some women when they turn 75 informing them that they will no longer receive reminder or mobile announcement letters (MAL). Client feedback showed that some women were surprised when they did not receive a reminder/MAL to screen after they turned 75 and did not know they should speak to their healthcare provider if they wished to continue with screening.
What has changed?
There have been no changes in screening recommendations with this notification. This letter is only sent to inform women to not expect further communication from the ABCSP and to speak with their healthcare provider if they wish to continue screening. This is so that they may discuss the benefits and harms of continuing to screen.
Why does the program stop sending reminder/MAL to women when they turn 75?
The ABCSP follows the Toward Optimized Practice (TOP) guidelines recommending screening for average risk women. They are:
- 39 years and under: Screening is not recommended
- 40 to 49: The balance of benefits and risks is not great enough to recommend routine screening. Consider a woman’s preference.
- 50 to 74: Screening is recommended.
- 75 years and over: Consider individual health factors and woman’s preference.
Since the ABCSP does not know each woman’s individual health factors or preference, the program would not know how long to continue sending reminder or MALs.
What should I do as a healthcare provider?
Discuss the personal benefits and risks of continued screening after turning 75 with your patients. For more information about screening, visit our resources section at [http://screeningforlife.ca/healthcare-providers-resources/].