Measuring the uptake of cancer screening

Of an estimated 191,300 new cancer cases diagnosed in Canada in 2014, one-quarter (26.3%) were breast, colorectal or cervical cancers.These are the only three cancers for which organized population-based screening programs exist across Canada. Screening may take place within these programs (called programmatic screening) or outside of programs (called non-programmatic or opportunistic screening). Regular screening can reduce mortality by detecting cancers early, before they advance to the metastatic stage and in some cases it can also reduce incidence by finding pre-cancerous lesions before they develop into cancers. For these outcomes to be fully realized, however, a large proportion of the target population needs to access high-quality screening that conforms to evidence based guidelines.