Breast cancer screening program to start next Monday
Starting next Monday, a breast cancer screening pilot program will be rolled out for eligible women over a period of two years with the aim of detecting breast cancer early on.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among females in Hong Kong and has been on the rise in the past decades. Early detection before the apperance of symptoms can ensure early treatment, and prevent the cancer from getting worse.
According to recommendations by the Cancer Expert Working Group on Cancer Prevention and Screening of the Cancer Coordinating Committee, women aged between 44 and 69 with certain combinations of personalised risk factors putting them at increased risk of breast cancer are recommended to consider mammography screening every two years.
The breast cancer risk assessment tools developed by HKU are accessible at the Cancer Online Resource Hub: www.cancer.gov.hk/en/bctool.
At the initial stage of the pilot programme, the Department of Health will use personalised breast cancer risk assessment tools to assess the risk of developing breast cancer for women enrolled in the Woman Health Service.
Breast cancer screening, as appropriate, will be provided at its three Women Health Centres.
Upon enrolling in the Woman Health Service with an annual fee of HK$310, eligible women will pay HK$225 for mammography per episode. Breast ultrasound scanning as a supplementary examination may be arranged for them if necessary.
Fees will be waived for persons who are receiving Comprehensive Social Security Assistance.
The Hong Kong Breast Cancer Foundation welcomed the announcement, saying it is a big milestone of mitigating the threat of breast cancer in the local community.
Chairman Eliza Fok Ho Yi-wah said it would help raise the awareness of breast health.
The foundation considers the pilot screening programme as a first step forward to prevent and control breast cancer. A population-wide breast cancer screening should be implemented earliest possible.