Behind the science of breast cancer in Canada, as well as globally, are the stories of thousands of women, their families, and their communities. These include stories from those who have died or those suffering from the realities of stage III and stage IV breast cancer due to late detection, misinformation, and dismissal. The reality for these women is that, whilst grateful for the latest developments in cancer research, much of this knowledge is not reflected in policy and practice. Canadian guidelines do not reflect the recommended screening by experts within the field and inequities in screening practices and practitioner knowledge exist in different areas within Canada. Told through the stories of women with lived experiences of late-stage breast cancer and supported by scientific evidence, this paper explores the impact of outdated breast cancer screening practices on the lives of women. Recent patient advocacy is driving changes, such as notifying women of their breast density in a few jurisdictions in Canada, but we call for the whole medical community to take responsibility and ensure breast screening is optimised to save more lives.
Keywords: Canada; breast; breast density; breast density notification; cancer; dense; patient advocacy; screening.