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When should I screen for cancer?

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care have a tool called the Time to Screen Tool. This is designed to help you find out when you should screen for breast cancer, cervical cancer and colorectal cancer.

Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) is now sending letters to invite you to begin screening, to remind you when it’s time to screen again, and inform you of results for all 3 cancer screening programs.

Ontario Beast Screening Program (OBSP)

Starting in the Spring of 2014, CCO will be mailing letters to women turning 50, inviting them to get screened for breast cancer through the Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP). Women who currently receive letters will also continue to receive letters reminding them when it’s time to return for screening and informing them of their test results. Breast screening appointments are self-referral and can be made at any OBSP screening site. For more information or to book an appointment see OBSP or call 1-800-668-9304.

Ontario Cervical Screening Program (OCSP)

In the Fall of 2013, Cancer Care Ontario sent letters to women who were eligible for cervical cancer screening. They will continue to send letters inviting women for pap testing, informing them of their test results, and reminding them when it’s time to return for screening.  These letters help women keep up with their scheduled screening recommendations. For more information on the Ontario Cervical Screening Program, visit the CCO website.

ColonCancerCheck (CCC)

In 2013, ColonCancerCheck began sending invitation letters to men and women between the ages of 50 and 74 who have never been screened or are due for colorectal screening. These letters invited them to get the Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) kit and discuss screening with their family doctor or nurse practitioner.

Benefits of screening:

  • Screening can find cancer early which means it may be easier to treat or cure.
  • Screening for cancer when you are healthy and have no symptoms can mean better health outcomes.


Canadian Cancer Society. (2012). What is Cancer? Retrieved from

Cancer Care Ontario. (2012). Screen for Life. Retrieved from