WEB ONLY: Salons spreading the word

GUELPH – When women go to their hair salon in April, they may wind up talking to their stylist about preventing breast cancer.

Public Health Units in south­western Ontario are work­ing with select hair salons on a pilot project called Be a breast friend. The campaign is de­signed to raise awareness about the importance of breast health.

“Salons are places where women have time to talk and socialize with their stylist,” said  Karen Bergin-Payette, a Public Health nurse. “Clients trust and listen to their stylists.”

During April at partici­pating salons, stylists will be handing out information pack­ages to interested clients.  Stylists will also be encour­aging eligible women age 50 and older to call the Ontario breast screening program to book a mammogram. 

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Ontario women.

For women 50 and older, the risk of breast can­cer increases.

Finding breast cancer early improves treat­ment options and survival rates.  A mammogram is a breast x-ray that can find changes in the breast even when the changes are too small to feel.

Unfor­tunately, many women fail to have regular mammograms. 

Currently in Ontario only 60% of women age 50 to 69 participate in regular screening through the Ontario breast screening program or other screening clinics.

What every woman should know

– Be aware of how your breasts normally look and feel.  Talk to a doctor or nurse prac­titioner about any changes.

– Ask a doctor or nurse practitioner to examine your breasts every one to two years.

– Women between the ages 40 to 49 should discuss if they need a mammogram with a doctor or nurse practitioner.

– Women 50 and older should have a mammogram at least every two years. Women can book their own appoint­ment by calling the Ontario breast screening program at 1-800-461-0640. No doctor’s referral is needed and there is no cost.

– Reduce the risk of breast cancer by being a healthy weight, eat well, be active, limit alcohol, live smoke free and be screened.