An estimated 480 Canadian women in their 40s died of breast cancer last year. So why are we told to start screening at 50?
Published in Chatelaine in March 2007
When Barbara Gobis Ogle's family doctor told her to get a mammogram at 40, she didn't see the urgency. The single mother and executive at a Vancouver-based medical tech firm had too many other distractions: putting in the hero's hours at work, ferrying around teenage sons to football practice, struggling to catch six hours of sleep a night.
Most women are told they don't need to be tested for breast cancer until they turn 50, so why would Ogle bother to take a half-day off work to put on a pink gown and have her breast sandwiched between two cold plates?
Her general practitioner, Dr. Barbara Hejdankova, was just being cautions; she advises all of her over-40 patients to go for an exam.
At 45, Dr. Hejdankova had found a suspicious lump of her own, and though the growth turned out to be benign, the discovery mad her a big believer in early testing.