Government of Canada to help advance work on breast cancer screening

News release

Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care updating 2018 breast cancer screening guideline

June 8, 2023 | Ottawa, ON | Health Canada

Breast cancer is the most diagnosed cancer and second leading cause of cancer death among women living in Canada.

Over the past few days, the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care (Task Force), held an in-person meeting during which they discussed next steps in updating their 2018 breast cancer screening guideline. Throughout the coming months, the Task Force will be examining multiple types of evidence to inform their updated guideline, such as data on trends in breast cancer cases and deaths due to breast cancer, modeling data, including disaggregated data, and studies on breast cancer screening outcomes, as well as patient values and preferences.

The government of Canada supports the Task Force’s decision to pursue an expedited review process to ensure that the draft breast screening guideline is released this fall.

Today, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, announced up to $500,000 in additional funding to the Task Force to help expedite the update of the breast cancer screening guideline.

The Task Force, funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), is an independent arms-length body of 15 primary care and prevention experts. They develop evidence-based clinical practice guidelines on a range of topics that support primary care providers in the delivery of preventive healthcare, including cancer screening.

In addition to the funding announced today, PHAC also intends to host a knowledge exchange event to bring together experts, partners, those with lived experiences, and stakeholders, to discuss the current state of the science, including knowledge gaps, related to breast cancer screening.


“Cancer is a health issue that impacts nearly everyone living in Canada, either through a personal diagnosis or that of a loved one. With 12% of women in Canada expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, having breast cancer screening guidelines that are based on the latest science is essential. We will keep working with all partners and support the Task Force in sharing credible information to help Canadians make informed decisions about what they need to stay healthy.”

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

Quick facts

  • In 2020, an estimated 27,400 women were diagnosed with breast cancer and 5,100 died from the disease.

  • Women and people with breasts can reduce their risk of developing breast cancer and other cancers by having a healthy diet, engaging in regular physical activity, not smoking, and reducing their use of alcohol.

  • The Task Force’s current (2018) breast cancer screening guideline outlines both the benefits and harms of screening for Canadian women and stresses the importance of shared decision-making between women and their healthcare providers to support informed decision-making.

  • External evaluations of the Task Force breast cancer guideline by the American College of Physicians in 2019, and independent researchers in 2022, rank the Task Force guideline amongst the highest quality in the world.

  • The Task Force is an arms-length organization established to provide recommendations independent of PHAC and the Minister of Health. Updates to their guidelines ensure that they remain reflective of the best and most current available evidence.

Associated links


Guillaume Bertrand
Senior Communications Advisor and Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada

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