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Harper Government invests in new breast cancer awareness program

Initiative aims to help women at high risk and their health care providers

TORONTO, April 4, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, on behalf of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Federal Minister of Health, Stella Ambler, Member of Parliament for Mississauga South, announced a new High Risk Breast Cancer Project, funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada, which aims to increase awareness and understanding among women, health care providers and the general public about the factors that place women at high risk for developing breast cancer, including hereditary breast cancer. This is a collaborative effort between various breast cancer organizations, including:

  • Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation,
  • Canadian Breast Cancer Network,
  • Rethink Breast Cancer, and
  • Willow Breast Cancer Support Canada.

Together, the project partners will develop tools and activities to raise awareness about what 'high risk' means. They will provide information about the risk factors for developing breast cancer, and about genetic testing, risk assessment tools, and post-test counselling and prevention options.

Breast health awareness tools and information will include web-based and print resources, facts about a breast cancer gene that some women carry that increases their risk of developing breast cancer, a media awareness campaign, a documentary, a webinar, and community-based education and outreach activities. 

Quick Facts

  • Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer and the second leading cancer cause of death among Canadian women with a projected 23,800 diagnoses and 5,000 deaths in 2013. [Source: Canadian Cancer Statistics 2013]
  • Finding cancer early through screening, even when there are no symptoms, is important. Early diagnosis of cancer when it is less likely to have spread results in more effective and simpler treatment, thus improving the chances of surviving the disease.
  • Today's announcement was made at the Edward Day Gallery during Breast Fest, at the Scar Project exhibit. For more information about the event, visit
  • Building on the Government of Canada's commitment to working with partners in all sectors, this project will include partnerships among breast health organizations and the education community to work together to increase awareness of the factors that place many Canadian women at higher risk of breast cancer.

"The Government of Canada is proud to be a part of this collaboration. Many women who are at high risk may be unaware of their status, and with this initiative we can help spread the word about what it means to be at 'high risk' and how to take appropriate action."
Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health

"This important initiative will help protect the health of Canadian women by giving them information to make informed decisions about managing their risks for cancer."
MP Stella Ambler
Member of Parliament for Mississauga South

"Breast cancer is a complex disease.  Women at higher risk for developing breast cancer need to be able to access relevant information, tools and resources to help them make informed decisions about their breast health.  Our partnership with the Government of Canada and other leading breast cancer organizations is an important step in providing better support for all Canadian women."
Sandra Palmaro, CEO
CBCF – Ontario

"CBCN is pleased that this important partnership will allow us to continue our efforts to reach Canadians who have been impacted by a breast cancer diagnosis. As a part of this project we will continue to make concentrated efforts to connect with underserved populations in Canada, and to provide all Canadians with relevant information to help support informed health decision."
Cathy Ammendolea
CBCN Board Chair and breast cancer survivor.

"Rethink Breast Cancer's role within this important partnership will be to create an innovative platform to engage young women around the complex issues around breast cancer risk and hereditary breast cancer. Thanks to the Government of Canada, this project will provide much needed education and support for young women around this disease. We look forward to working with the other great organizations to make a big impact."
MJ Decoteau, Executive Director
Rethink Breast Cancer

"This partnership will allow us to develop much needed resources for the high risk breast cancer and BRCA community, empowering those affected to take charge of their health. Willow is committed to providing information and support to anyone facing breast cancer, including those at high risk, and is pleased for the opportunity to work with the Government of Canada and other leading Canadian breast cancer organizations."
Jeffrey Beach, Executive Director
Willow Breast Cancer Support Canada

SOURCE Public Health Agency of Canada

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