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What is Breast Screening or OBSP?

  • For women over the age of 50 who have never had breast cancer
  • You do not require a Doctor's order
  • You book your own appointment at 1 800-916-6277

What is diagnostic Mammography?

  • For women who are under the age of 50  
  • For women who have had breast cancer previously
  • For women who have recently had found a lump or experiencing problems with their breasts.
  • You do require a Doctor's order or requistion
  • Appointments are booked  at 1-613-756-3045  ext: 252

Both are done at St. Francis Memorial Hospital.


The Ontario Breast Screening Program encourages women to take charge of their own health. Women, over the age of 50 and who have never had breast cancer, can self-refer for a mammogram, by phoning to make their own appointments. Did you know 75%-80% of all breast cancers occur in women with no risk factors, other than being a woman?

St. Francis Memorial and Renfrew Victoria Hospitals voluntarily amalgamated their administrations, under the direction of Chief Executive Officer Randy Penney, in December of 1998. Some of the benefits of this successful partnership are witnessed in the opening of the Ontario Breast Screening and Mammography Program at SFMH, in October 2000.

St. Francis Memorial Hospital OBSP/Mammography service is an affiliate of the RVH  Ontario Breast Screening Program and is accredited with the Canadian Association of Radiologists. Staff  at SFMH are specially trained Breast Imaging.

Both hospitals are committed to bringing services closer to home, and St. Francis Memorial is proud to offer this program in a rural setting.

To book an appointment for OBSP, or for more information, please call 1-800-916-6277.


What is a Mammogram?

A mammogram is an x-ray picture of the breasts. It is used to find any changes in the breast that may be noncancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant) disease.

How the Test is performed?

You will be asked to undress from the waist up and will be given a gown to wear.

One breast at a time is rested on a flat surface and the x-ray image is taken. A device called a compression paddle will press gently against the breast to help spread the breast tissue.

The x-ray pictures are taken from several angles. You may be asked to hold your breath as each picture is taken.

Sometimes you will be asked to come back at a later date for more mammogram images. This does not always mean you have breast cancer. Rather, the doctor may simply need to recheck an area that could not be clearly seen on the first image.

Digital mammography is new technology that allows the x-ray images of the breast to be viewed immediately on the computer by the Technologist and Doctor. These computer images allow the doctor to manipulate the image, making it larger or zooming in on an area. This technology improves clarity and accuracy and has a faster reporting time.

How to Prepare for the Test

Remove deodorant, perfume, powders, or ointments under your arms or on your breasts on the day of the mammogram. These substances may interfere with the results of the x-ray.  Remove all jewelry from your neck and chest area. Tell your health care provider and the radiologist if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

How the Test Will Feel

The image detector may feel cold to touch. When the breast is gently pressed down, you may have some discomfort.  However, the compression of the breast is required to get good images.

Why the Test is performed?

  • Screen healthy women for signs of breast cancer and early detection
  • Monitor and follow a woman who has had an abnormal mammogram
  • Further evaluate a woman who has had an abnormal finding such as: symptoms of a breast disease, a lump, nipple discharge, breast pain, dimpling of the skin on the breast, or retraction of the nipple.
  • Some, but not all medical organizations recommend that women begin breast cancer screening at age 40 and have repeat mammograms every 1 to 2 years.
  • All medical organizations recommend that women over age 50 have a screening mammogram every 1 to 2 years.
  • Women with a mother or sister who had breast cancer should consider yearly mammograms earlier than the age at which their youngest family member was diagnosed.

Normal Results Mean

Breast tissue that shows no signs of a mass or calcification is considered normal.

Abnormal Results Mean

Most abnormal findings on a screening mammogram turn out to be benign or nothing to worry about. However, any new findings or changes must be further evaluated.

A Radiologist, a doctor who reads x-rays, may see the following types of findings on a mammogram:

  • A well-outlined, regular, clear spot (this is more likely to be a noncancerous condition such as a cyst)
  • Masses or lumps
  • Dense areas in the breast that can be breast cancer or hide breast cancer
  • Calcifications, which are caused by tiny deposits of calcium in your breast tissue. Most calcifications are not a sign of cancer.

The American College of Radiology (ACR) has developed a grading system for radiology doctors to use when they report the results of a mammogram. Terms you may hear your doctor use include:

  • Negative
  • Benign (noncancerous) finding
  • Probably benign
  • Suspicious abnormality
  • Highly suggestive of malignancy or cancer

Sometimes the following tests are required:

  • Additional mammogram views -- called magnification or compression views
  • Breast Ultrasound
  • Breast Biopsy
  • Breast MRI


The level of radiation from mammography is very low. If you are pregnant and need to have an abnormality checked, your belly area will be covered and protected by a lead apron.

Routine screening mammography is not done during pregnancy or while breast-feeding.

How to make an appointment - PLEASE CALL

  • OBSP – 1-800-916-6277
  • Diagnostic Mammogram – 613-756-3045  ext: 252-  (requires a  Doctor's order or requisition)