Screening programs help with preventative health care and early detection of various medical conditions. They can identify health problems in individuals who appear healthy and have no health symptoms. The goal of these programs is to catch and treat diseases in their early stages, when they can be more successfully treated.

There are a variety of screening programs that exist, including programs for breast, colon, or lung cancer; chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension; and infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and hepatitis B.

Each screening program has guidelines for who can participate in the program, and how screening is performed and how often. For example, screening mammography can be requested for women aged 40 and above when there are no symptoms, as part of a breast screening program.

Mammography is a type of X-ray exam that takes images – called mammograms – for a detailed look at the internal structure of breast tissue to see changes that are too small for you or your doctor to feel. Having a screening mammogram every year, or every two years, makes it easier for a radiologist to compare your images and see changes or areas of concern.


Since the introduction of provincial breast screening programs in the late 80s, the death rate from breast cancer has been declining thanks to earlier detection from regular mammogram screening and improvements in breast cancer treatment. For patients at high risk of serious illnesses like heart disease, colon cancer, or lung cancer due to a family history of disease or other risk factors, screening programs may be beneficial to help detect early signs of these diseases.

For example, studies have shown that for high-risk patients with no symptoms, regular lung cancer screening can lower the risk of dying from lung cancer by almost 25%. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer-related death, and its survival rates are among the lowest for all types of cancer in Canada.

Lung cancer screening is offered by Alberta Health Services as part of their two-year pilot project that will offer lung cancer screening using low-dose computed tomography (CT) scans to approximately 3,000 eligible Albertans (only Mosaic PCN patients in Calgary). Five Mayfair Diagnostics radiologists will be reading these CT lung cancer screening studies, including several sub-specialized thoracic radiologists.

Mayfair Diagnostics also offers private pay CT lung scans at our Mayfair Place location. These exams are not covered by the Alberta Health Insurance Plan. Your health spending account or group medical insurance plan may cover the cost of a private CT that is prescribed by a qualified health care practitioner. You will need to check with your plan administrator for coverage details.


Screening programs could include a variety of tests. There are prostate-specific antigen blood tests to help detect prostate cancer, stool tests to help detect colon cancer, Pap tests to help detect cervical cancer, and more. In terms of medical imaging, some preventative screening tests are covered under provincial health care plans, like mammography exams for breast cancer screening and bone mineral densitometry exams to look for osteoporosis.

At Mayfair Diagnostics most of our services are available through the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan, but we do offer private pay CT and MRI services as a compliment to the public health care system. These include private screening exams, such as CT lung scans, virtual colonoscopy to screen for colon cancer, or coronary CT angiography to assess your risk of heart disease. We also offer Health Assessment packages, which provide a discount on multiple imaging exams when purchased together.

Both screening and diagnostic imaging exams must be requested by your health care practitioner. To determine which type of imaging is recommended, you and your doctor might discuss your medical and family history, risk factors, symptoms (if any), etc.

For more information, please visit our services page.



Alberta Health Services (2023) “Get Screened.” Accessed February 2, 2023.

Alberta Health Services (2023) “New screening program will use CT scans to detect early-stage lung cancer.” Accessed February 1, 2023.

Canadian Cancer Society (2023) “Canadian Cancer Accessed February 1, 2023.

De Koning, H. J., et al. (2020) “Reduced Lung-Cancer Mortality with Volume CT Screening in a Randomized Trial.” New England Journal of Medicine, 2020; 382:503-513. Accessed February 2, 2023.

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