What is the High Risk Ontario Breast Screening Program?

Women at high risk for breast cancer can receive annual breast medical imaging (mammogram and MRI or bilateral breast ultrasound) as part of the Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) [opens in new window]. There are over 25 high risk screening sites in Ontario [opens in new window]. Each site facilitates genetic assessments and testing.

If you are at high risk for breast cancer, annual breast screening will ensure that if you develop breast cancer it will be found and treated early.

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Who is eligible for high risk breast screening?

​You are eligible for OBSP’s high risk screening program if you are between 30 and 69 years old, have no symptoms of breast cancer and:
  • Are a known carrier of a potentially harmful gene mutation, such as BRCA1 or BRCA2
  • Are the first degree relative of a person with a potentially harmful gene mutation, such as BRCA1 or BRCA2
  • Have a 25% or greater lifetime risk of breast cancer (assessed using either the IBIS or BOADICEA risk assessment tools, preferably at a genetics clinic). See also: Familial Cancer Clinic at Princess Margaret »
  • Have received chest radiation (not x-ray) before the age of 30 and at least 8 years before screening to treat other medical conditions (e.g., as treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma)

You may need to see a genetic counsellor to determine if you are eligible for high-risk breast screening. Ask your doctor for a referral to genetic counselling if you or a family member have a personal or family history (father’s or mother’s side) of one or more of the following:

  • Breast cancer or ovarian cancer in two or more closely related family members on the same side of the family
  • Breast cancer in both breasts, especially if the woman was diagnosed with one or both cancers before age 50
  • Both breast and ovarian cancer in the same woman
  • Breast cancer before age 35
  • Invasive serous ovarian cancer
  • Breast or ovarian cancer in Ashkenazi Jewish families
  • BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation in any blood relative
  • Male breast cancer

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The Nurse Navigator

The nurse navigator is the first person you will meet when you come for high-risk screening. The navigator will give you information about high-risk screening, screening results, callback assessments, and other things you may encounter in the high-risk breast screening program. The navigator can answer any questions you may have about high-risk screening and support you as you go through the program.

The navigator works with a diverse team of health care professionals to give you the best possible care, including:

  • Geneticists
  • Medical oncologists
  • Medical radiologists
  • Breast surgeons
  • Radiologists
  • Family physicians
  • Plastic surgeons
  • Reconstructive breast nurses
  • Oncology nurses
  • Social workers
  • Survivorship programs
  • Community resources such as those found at the Canadian Cancer Society [opens in new window]

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How to Get Referred

Talk to your doctor about the high-risk OBSP. You need a referral from your doctor to get into the program. 

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Contact Information

Referral & Program Questions:

Shelley Westergard, Clinical Coordinator/Nurse Navigator
Phone: 416 946 4501 ext. 6313
Email: shelley.westergard@uhn.ca

Appointment Details:

Phone: 416 946 4501 ext. 3317

Genetic Enquiries:

Familial Cancer Clinic
Phone: 416 946 2270

To see OBSP High Risk Screening Referral Contacts in other locations, visit Cancer Care Ontario [opens in new window] »

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Last reviewed: 10/6/2019
Last modified: 10/7/2019 12:54 PM