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.