​​​​​​​Honour Yourself, Honour Your Family, Honour Your Community, Honour Your Ancestors. 

Screen for cancer regularly as a part of your wellness. 

Cancer screening involves different tests that look for signs of cancer in your body. Cancer screening can i​nvolve x-ray images of body parts, blood tests and cell or stool samples. The goal of cancer screening is to find cancer early, before you have symptoms and before the cancer has a chance to grow and spread. Early detection can help improve your chances for effective treatment and recovery. 

Cancer screening is available to people of specific age groups and risk factors. You may need to get cancer screening more often if you have a family history of cancer or have personal health risks. Your health care provider can advise you about what kind of screenings are right for you, which ones are available to you and how often you can get screened. 

Getting screened regularly can bring peace of mind for you and your family. Knowing the results offers you the wisdom to make informed decisions about your own health. Many cancer screening tests come back with no concerns. 

If your cancer screening test comes back with unusual results, it does not necessarily mean that you have cancer, but it means more testing is needed to learn more. Some tests may be uncomfortable. Be sure to ask whether there are ways you can be made comfortable during the testing process.


There are four provincial screening programs in BC led by BC Cancer

Breast screening = A mammography test (an X-ray of your breasts)

  • Available to women and people with breasts 40 years and older.
  • Screening is available every 2 years if you are between 40-49 years of age and recommended every 2 years if you are 50-74 years of age with no family history of breast cancer. BC women and people with breasts between 40-74 years of age with a first degree relative (mother, daughter or sister) with breast cancer are recommended to screen every year.
  • To book a mammogram appointment, call 1-800-663-9203.
  • If you have attended a mammogram appointment in the past, a reminder letter may be sent to you, with an option to book online using the code in your reminder letter.
  • Screening can be done at a hospital, clinic or mammography van. 

Cervix screening = Cervix self-screening or a Pap test

Cervix self-screenin​​g test: 

  • Recommende​​d to women and people with a cervix between 25-69 years every five years if negative for HPV.
  • Call 1-877-702-6566 or visit​ to request a kit in the mail. You ca​n also connect with a health care provider about picking up a test kit.
  • ​Cervix self-screeni​​ng is a simple test that lets you collect a sample from your vagina to screen for cervical cancer. You can complete the self-test wherever you’re most comfortable, including at home, and return the test by mail or at a health centre.

Pap t​​est: 

  • Recommended to women and people with a cervix between 25-69 years of age every t​​hree years.
  • ​Call 1-800-739-7367 or visit to find a health care clinic that accep​​​​ts patients for Pap tests.
  • ​Pap tests ca​​n be done by a doctor, nurse practitioner, registered nurse, midwife or naturopathic doctor at their office or clinic. 
Colon screening = A fecal immunochemical test (FIT) kit (a test of your feces)
  • The fecal immunochemical test (FIT) is recommended to most people between 50-74 years of age every 2 years. Individuals with a personal history of adenomas or who have a significant family history of colon cancer may need a colonoscopy every 3 to 5 years. Talk to your health care provider to learn when you should start screening.
  • Talk to a health provider to get a FIT test form to bring to a lab to get your test kit. Call 1-877-70-COLON if you can't find a lab in your community.
  • You can do the test yourself in the privacy of your home and bring it back to the lab when done. 

Lung screening = Low dose CT lung scan (a picture of your lungs)

  • Available to people 55-74 years of age who are currently smoking or have smoked in the past and have a smoking history of 20 years or more.
  • You can call 1-877-717-5864 to talk to a lung screening team member to assess your overall health. If you have a higher chance of getting lung cancer, you may be asked to have low dose x-ray pictures of your lungs taken.
  • A lung scan is done at a hospital. 

Travel Coverage for Screening

For those who live in an area without close access to a screening service, you may need to travel to access a lab, clinic or hospital for service. Travel and accommodation coverage may be available provincially or through First Nations Health Benefits. A doctor's referral may be required for coverage.

Cancer Screening Appointment

Going to a cancer screening appointment is an important decision and can come with a range of thoughts and feelings. To prepare, you may wish to consider: 

  • Talking to a trusted health care provider in advance and asking as many questions as needed.
  • Preparing with cultural or traditional health practices, like a smudge, brushing or ceremony.
  • Connecting with a trusted Elder or cultural wellness provider.
  • Bringing a friend or family member to your appointment.
  • Trying breathing exercises.
  • Asking for a second staff member to be in the room as a witness.
  • Planning a celebration for, and after, your appointment.
  • Reading materials on what to expect. The FNHA has prepared a number of materials on cancer screening that you may find helpful (see the documents below for links).
  • Knowing you can share concerns or report a health care harm about unsafe care to the FNHA Quality Care and Safety Office 


To learn more:​