Santé Montréal

Québec Breast Cancer Screening Program

How to get a screening mammogram?

Québec's Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux has set up a screening program to fight breast cancer: the Québec Breast Cancer Screening Program or PQDCS.

Created in 1998, the provincial program encourages all women aged 50 to 69 to have a free screening mammogram every 2 years.

The goal of the program is to cut the breast cancer death rate by 25%.

The program has a hotline so you can get answers to all your questions.
Info-Mammo hotline: 514-528-2424

Voluntary Participation

It's your decision whether or not to participate in the Québec Breast Cancer Screening Program. You can withdraw from the program at any time and still continue to have screening mammograms, as long as you have a medical referral from your family doctor.

How it works?

When women turn 50, they automatically receive a referral letter for a screening mammogram. The letter acts as a personalized medical referral that lets you get a mammogram without having to go through a doctor first. 

With your letter, there is a list of radiology clinics recognized by the program to give screening mammograms. The list allows you to find a clinic near you and to call to make an appointment.

Note: If your breasts are sensitive, arrange to have an appointment 10 days after your period starts.  

Here are a few tips to follow before you go to the radiology clinic:

  • Don't wear a dress. When you have a mammogram, the technician asks you to take your top off. You'll be more comfortable if you wear a two-piece outfit.
  • Avoid putting any cosmetics on and around your breasts. Perfume, cremes and deodorants are all products that can alter mammography results.
  • Don't wear jewelry. You'll have to take off all your jewelry before having a mammogram because they can alter mammography results.
  • Don't forget your referral letter (or the referral form you got from your doctor) and your valid health card. You will need both documents to have a mammogram.  If this isn't your first mammogram don't forget to bring the results of your previous ones. 


On the day of your appointment, go to the radiology clinic reception desk with your letter (or the referral form you got from your doctor) and your valid health card. You will sign an authorization form to participate in the program. After that, you will meet with the technician, who will go over the mammography process with you. Then you will have your screening mammogram.  .

If you participate in the program, you will receive your results two weeks after your exam. Your doctor will also get your mammogram results. If you don't have a family doctor, your results will be sent to one of the doctors who volunteers for the program; this doctor will provide follow-up.

Note: The volunteer doctor follows up on your results but doesn't become your family doctor.

Additional examinations

Once you've had a mammogram, you might need to have additional tests. These tests are done to clarify your mammogram results. In 90% to 95% of cases, the additional tests confirm that there is no cancer.

To make it easier for you to have additional tests, the program provides access to designated referral centres (CRID). These centres are recognized for the quality of the care and services they deliver, and they offer free follow-up.

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Last Update : 19 September 2020