The BC Cancer Breast Screening Program will resume screening mammography services in select screening centre sites in June. The introduction of screening mammography will occur in a measured, phased approach: each site will work with downstream diagnostic services to ensure there is capacity for follow-up procedures, as well as sufficient personal protective equipment on hand before resuming services.
It is anticipated that all sites, including three mobile screening units, will be screening again by July. This measured approach will ensure that patient anxiety due to abnormal screening results is minimized, and provide a safe environment for cancer screening to occur.
To ensure staff and patient safety, several important measures that promote safe cancer screening will be in effect, including:
- Physical distancing: Breast screening centres will be rearranging their waiting areas and allowing more time between patients to support physical distancing. Unscheduled walk-in appointments will not be accommodated at this time.
- Enhanced cleaning: Mammography equipment and exam rooms will be frequently cleaned and sanitized in accordance with provincial guidelines.
- Personal protective equipment: Screening staff will be wearing personal protective equipment including surgical masks, appropriate eye protection, and gloves to protect themselves and others.
- COVID-19 screening: Patients will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms at the entrance to the building or facility.
- Hand hygiene: Hand sanitizer and/or hand-washing stations will be available at all screening sites to support good hand hygiene.
The Breast Screening Program will be contacting patients on existing wait lists and those whose previous appointments were canceled due to COVID-19 to book a new appointment.
Breast screening was temporarily suspended in March to support physical distancing measures and to assist in efforts to minimize COVID-19 transmission in the community. A temporary suspension in screening services allowed hospitals to redeploy and train essential health care workers in the likelihood of a potential surge in COVID-19 patients requiring acute care.
For more information, please visit www.screeningbc.ca/breast.
Leader, Screening Promotions, BC CANCER
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