Canada: New Quebec breast-cancer screening guidelines recommend mammograms for transgender people

Transgender women between the ages of 50 and 69 should be screened for breast cancer, according to new guidelines from Quebec's Ministry of Health and Social Services.

Quebec has had a program in place for close to 20 years recommending that post-menopausal women in that age group have a mammogram every two years. That recommendation has now been updated to include transgender women who have undergone hormonal treatment and developed breasts as a consequence.

Health Ministry spokesperson Noémie Vanheuverzwijn said the ministry has been working on the new guidelines for the past few years. 

Under the existing program, the government sends out reminder notices to anyone identified as female and between the ages of 50 and 69 by RAMQ, the public health insurance agency, inviting them to get a mammogram. Anyone who has changed her gender to female, as indicated on her medicare card, will now also be invited to go for a screening.

Developmental pediatrician Dr. Shuvo Ghosh, who is also the director of the gender variance program at the McGill University Health Centre, said he is concerned that the clarification issued by the Health Ministry for its breast-cancer screening protocol could end up encouraging doctors to look at what's on the health card instead of examining the patient. Ghosh said deciding whether a person should be screened for breast cancer depends on a number of variables and shouldn't be reduced to a bureaucratic guideline. Read more via CBC