Madam Speaker, before I get into the essence of the bill, I want to respond to a few of the comments made by the member for Scarborough—Rouge River.
This is a bill on breast cancer screening. I know she is new to this chamber, but a royal recommendation is not permitted in a private member's bill. Funding of doctors is not something one can do through a private member's bill. Therefore, I think it is inappropriate to suggest it is something that could have been added to the bill.
May I also add that it is a bit disingenuous, in the sense that the member for Scarborough—Rouge River is an active supporter of the Ontario New Democratic Party; when it was in power, for the first time in Ontario's history it cut medical enrolment, so the root challenge we face in Ontario, in her riding, exists because of the party she supported when it was in office. If we do not train and graduate doctors, we will not have them in our ridings to work on the many essential medical needs.
With regard to the bill, one in nine women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some time during their lives. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, over 24,000 Canadian women will have been diagnosed with breast cancer this year alone. Sadly, 5,000 of them will lose their fight.
Cancer care has been a critical issue to me, and when I was presented with the opportunity to present a private member's bill, I knew instantly that I wanted to do something in this field. Every year, thousands of Barrie residents in my riding participate in the CIBC Run for the Cure. It really is inspiring to see so many people who care so much about battling this insidious disease.
While putting thought to this bill, I felt it was important not only for women but for all of us to be aware of the fact that screening for breast cancer can save lives. Providing women with accurate information about screening is therefore important and will ultimately help them make decisions that are right for them. This is the essence of Bill C-314. Breast cancer is more easily treated and, in most cases, curable when found early.
Dense breast tissue is one of the top risk factors for breast cancer, and it is important for women to be informed of this fact. This can be done when they are screened for breast cancer by a mammogram, but women who have breast dense tissue should also know that the potential cancer may not be detected because it cannot be seen on a mammogram and therefore diagnosed by radiologists. It appears white on mammograms and therefore is more challenging to detect.
What Bill C-314 would do is highlight the importance of being informed and work with the provinces and territories through the national screening program in order to ensure that women receive this information.
For many women, especially young women, who have a higher incidence of dense breast tissue, having this information is essential to their decision-making process. This knowledge will provide them with the tools they need to make personal health care decisions.
Women who are informed that they have dense breast tissue may need to go for a different type of screening, such as an ultrasound or an MRI. Possible cancers may be deciphered more readily by a specialist using this type of diagnostic testing.
We are fortunate in Canada to have screening programs for breast cancer. Our provinces and territories deliver these programs to detect breast cancer early, before it has spread, so that treatment can be started. Providing more information through these programs will help women and their doctors make well-informed decisions regarding breast cancer screening. Targeting dense breast tissue is one of the means by which, through this piece of legislation, we can make a tangible difference in the fight against breast cancer.
I know too many loved ones, friends and even colleagues on the Hill, who have been touched by cancer. Through this bill I hope to not only make a difference but hopefully save lives.
I hope I can count on the members of the House to support this private member's bill, Bill C-314.
Also, I am thankful to Andrea Paine, in the Minister of Health's office, for her assistance, and I thank also Dr. Rob Ballagh, from the city of Barrie; Councillor Bonnie Ainsworth; Mike Richmond, from Toronto; and my assistant in my Barrie office, Shawn Bubel, who assisted on the drafting of this bill.
In Barrie we are building a cancer centre right now. This is one of the items I discussed with our CEO, Janice Skot. I appreciate her advice that it is this type of initiative that can really help make a difference.