FREDERICTON, N.B. – Mortality from breast cancer has decreased according to the province’s first breast cancer report.
New Brunswick Breast Cancer Screening Services – Report on Program Performance 1996-2009 was produced by the New Brunswick Cancer Network, a branch of the Department of Health, and is based on data that was collected between 1996 and 2009 from the 16 breast cancer screening sites around the province.
“This report provides an overview of how well the breast cancer screening program, a partnership between the cancer network and the regional health authorities, is achieving its goals of earlier detection and reducing mortality from breast cancer,” said Dr. Eshwar Kumar, co-chief executive officer of the New Brunswick Cancer Network. “Early detection through participation in organized breast cancer screening along with more effective treatment are the likely contributors to this evident decline in the number of breast cancer deaths.”
Highlights from the report indicate that:
● The total number of screening mammograms in the target age group has increased from 23,814 to 57,426;
● the proportion of women screened in the target age group has increased from 64 per cent to 71 per cent;
● the number of breast cancer deaths decreased by 12 per cent; and,
● the biennial (every two years) screening participation rate has increased from 33 to 53 per cent, which is far above the national average of 40 per cent.
“This report will inform the future development and enhancement of the breast cancer screening program to ensure that we are providing the best care to New Brunswick women,” said Dr. Réjean Savoie, co-chief executive officer of the network. “We strongly encourage women in the target age group to regularly participate in breast cancer screening, which is critical in reducing mortality from the disease.”
Breast cancer is still the most frequently diagnosed and the second leading cancer cause of death among New Brunswick women with an estimated 550 new cases and 110 deaths in 2013. The age group for biennial mammography screening was recently expanded from 50-69 to 50-74 for average-risk women.
The New Brunswick Cancer Network is responsible for the development and implementation of evidence-based provincial strategies for all elements of cancer care including prevention, screening, treatment, follow-up care, palliative care, education and research.
The full report is available on the Department of Health website. (www.gnb.ca/health)