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Mammography machines being replaced in Ontario not used in Manitoba

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Manitobans need not be alarmed by reports that Ontario is replacing nearly a quarter of its mammography machines out of concern for their effectiveness.

That’s because we don’t have the machines here in this province.

A study by Ontario Cancer Care has found that a relatively new form of digital technology called computed radiography, or CR, is less effective at detecting breast cancers than other technologies. The study has prompted the Ontario government to replace nearly a quarter of its mammography machines, according to a report in today’s Globe and Mail.

However, Dr. Dhali Dhaliwal, president and CEO of CancerCare Manitoba, said today that all of the province’s mammography machines are still film-based.

"We do not have CR machines because we are in the process of rolling out digital mammography. And we will use the direct radiography (DR) technology," Dhaliwal said.

The film and direct radiography technologies are equally effective, he added.

The Ontario study, published today, found that CR machines were 20 per cent less effective in detecting breast cancers than the other devices.

It compared the performance of the different technologies based on an assessment of 816,000 mammograms involving close to 700,000 women aged 50 to 74 who participated in Ontario’s breast screening program.

Women over 50 are more likely to develop breast cancer than younger women and are urged to get a mammogram every two years. Dhaliwal said if women have questions about Manitoba’s screening program they should call 1-800-903-9200.

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