Government Must Bring Back Breast Cancer Screening in Cape Breton

Many Cape Bretoners who have relied on life-saving cancer screenings for years, saw them cancelled during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those screenings have not yet been rescheduled.


Tests such as blood collection, colorectal cancer screens, mammograms and tests for other forms of cancer were delayed because our health system simply didn’t have the capacity to test. Victoria-The Lakes Progressive Conservative MLA Keith Bain said he’s heard from voices across the Island letting their concerns be known.


“Cape Bretoners are used to seeing Emergency Room closures and a lack of family doctors under this government,” said Bain. “Now they are being denied cancer screenings. These screenings are too important to go without for a long period of time. It’s time to bring them back immediately.”


Progressive Conservative leader Tim Houston called for a resumption of these tests in the Health Committee last week, and asked for an updated timeline on when services would resume to 100%. No date was provided and Minister of Health Randy Delorey was not in attendance. 

Rosemary LaRusic, a woman from Victoria-The Lakes wrote to Bain with a tragic family history, and has been diligent on doing screenings every year.


“I lost my grandmother, mother and sister to breast cancer,” said LaRusic. “It is imperative that I be tested every year because I am designated high-risk for getting breast cancer.”


She pointed out that the Mobile Breast Screening Unit was supposed to be at Neil’s Harbour Buchanan Memorial Hospital on the week of June 1st. LaRusic says she was willing to travel to Cheticamp or Inverness, at that point 3.5 months passed since and she was not able to book a mammogram. LaRusic was finally able to book an appointment in September.


“We have a right to this service. Please do not continue to use the COVID-19 as an excuse any longer because that is no longer acceptable,” said LaRusic. “If the mammograms are available to my sister who lives in Lower Sackville, then it definitely should be made available to the women of isolated rural areas long before winter sets in.”


Bain agrees, and has called on Minister Randy Delorey for a resumption of these services. 


“Cancer doesn’t discriminate by where you live in the province,” said Bain. “Many women in remote areas are relying on these vital services and there needs to be a mechanism for testing so people are not waiting months to book an appointment.”