More than 600,000 Quebec women now get a mammogram every 2 years - The Canadian Cancer Society’s Thingamaboob is back to remind women of the importance of breast cancer screening

22 November 2014

Montreal -

This morning, the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) launched it’s 6th Thingamaboob campaign, an annual event that uses an educational keychain to raise awareness on the importance of breast cancer screening.

A mammogram is the most reliable way to detect breast cancer in its early stages. When breast cancer is diagnosed and treated early, there are more, less aggressive, treatment options available to women and greater chances for a cure. Organized screening also reduces the odds of dying of breast cancer: for every 1,000 women aged 50 to 69 enrolled in a mammography screening program, 7 breast cancer-related deaths are avoided over a period of 20 years.

“All women aged 50 to 69 are invited to get a free screening mammogram every two years. More than 600,000 Quebec women have enrolled in the Quebec Breast Cancer Screening Program (PQDCS) and I’m proud to be one of them,” says comedian Lise Dion, spokesperson for the CCS’s Thingamaboob campaign. “I applaud these women for choosing to get a mammogram because this test is the most reliable way to detect breast cancer. It can save lives!”

More strides to be made in Montreal

Although more than 600,000 Quebec women are currently enrolled in the PQDCS, the Montreal area has the lowest enrolment rate in the province (48.1% versus 58.4%). To increase these numbers, the CCS has proudly joined forces with the PQDCS Montreal team to reach more women from different ethnicities and cultures.

With its different-sized beads, the CCS’s Thingamaboob keychain is an original educational tool that promotes the effectiveness of a screening mammogram. The bigger beads, which are the size of a quarter and a dime, represent the lumps generally detected by women on their own or by a healthcare professional during a physical exam. The smallest beads represent the type of lesions that can be detected through a mammogram and which can be as small as a pinhead.

A gift for the holiday season that could save lives!

To appeal to the tastes of all women, the Thingamaboob will be offered in three colours this year: pearly white, yellow and blue. Very chic indeed and what a great Christmas present!

From November 22 until Christmas, Jean Coutu pharmacies across Quebec will sell the CCS’s Thingamaboob for $5 apiece at the prescription counter, with all the proceeds going to the CCS. It will also be available at the CCS’s regional offices.

“The Thingamaboob unequivocally demonstrates the power of mammograms. They are still the most effective early detection and prevention tool we have for breast cancer. Many studies show that women who undergo regular mammograms survive breast cancer in greater numbers than those who don’t,” says Suzanne Dubois, Executive Director, CCS – Quebec Division.

The Canadian Cancer Society’s Thingamaboob

The Thingamaboob keychain in brief:
  • To date, more than 100,000 women have bought a Thingamaboob. This educational tool turns women into Canadian Cancer Society ambassadors. Attached to a handbag or used as a keychain, the Thingamaboob is an eye-catching accessory that promotes discussion on the importance of mammograms.
  • More than 15,000 health professionals (doctors, nurses, technicians) regularly use the Thingamaboob keychain to explain the effectiveness of a screening mammogram to women aged 50 to 69.
  • Thanks to its partnership with Jean Coutu Group (PJC) Inc., more than $500,000 has been raised by the Canadian Cancer Society since 2009 through the Thingamaboob keychain.
Breast cancer in brief:
  • Eight in ten breast cancers affect women who are aged 50 and above.
  • One in nine women is at risk of getting breast cancer in her lifetime. Among women, breast cancer is the most common and the second most fatal cancer after lung cancer.
  • In 2014, 6,000 women in Quebec (24,400 in Canada) will be diagnosed with breast cancer; some 1,350 women in Quebec (5,000 in Canada) will die as a result of the disease.
  • Breast cancer-related deaths have fallen by 43% since 1986, in part, because of the early detection of the disease. Close to 24,000 deaths have been avoided since the breast cancer-related death rate peaked in 1986, in part because of increased screening and advances in breast cancer treatments.
  • The 5-year relative survival rate for breast cancer is around 88%. This rate jumps to nearly 100% when the tumour is detected at the onset of the disease (stage 1).
The benefits of joining the Quebec Breast Cancer Screening Program (PQDCS)
  • In Quebec, women aged between 50 and 69 receive a letter giving them the opportunity to take part in the Quebec Breast Cancer Screening Program (PQDCS). As part of this program, women aged 50 to 69 are invited to get a free screening mammogram (breast X-ray) every two years, and receive a letter when it is time for them to get another mammogram.
  • The PQDCS is for women at medium-risk for breast cancer, i.e. women who present no symptoms or risk factors other than their age. All the women who participate in the PQDCS program are sent a copy of their report. A coordination centre makes sure that each woman’s doctor receives the results of the mammogram and that additional tests are prescribed if the radiologist finds it necessary.
  • Women who do not have a family doctor can get a mammogram by using the letter as a prescription. The report is automatically sent to a doctor if the mammogram is abnormal.
  • In 10% of cases, additional tests (other X-rays, an ultrasound, a biopsy) are needed to determine the nature of an abnormality. It should be noted that an abnormal mammogram does not necessarily indicate cancer; 95% of the time, the results of further tests are normal.
  • Designated Quebec Breast Cancer Screening Program (PQDCS) screening centres are subject to rigorous quality control standards.

Every day, the Canadian Cancer Society works to save more lives. With the support of thousands of Quebecers, donors and volunteers, we fight to prevent more cancers, enable our researchers to make more discoveries and help more people living with the disease. Let’s save more lives. Visit cancer.ca or call our Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

For more information, please contact:

André Beaulieu

Spokesperson and Senior Advisor, Public Relations

Canadian Cancer Society

Quebec Division

Phone: (514) 393-3444