AHS warns about caller advising breast self-exam

January 26, 2018

BARRHEAD/SLAVE LAKE – Alberta Health Services (AHS) is working with the RCMP to warn women in northern Alberta to be aware of misleading telephone calls regarding breast cancer results.

As of January 25, AHS received reports of a man calling two women, one in Barrhead and one in Slave Lake, claiming to be from a medical imaging facility. The caller relayed breast exam results and implied that routine follow-up required the women to immediately perform a breast self-exam while on the phone. The caller also asked for personal information.

AHS and RCMP were informed of similar calls of this nature, in the summer of 2017. AHS issued a PSA at that time and no further incidents were reported until one phone call on January 21, 2018 and a second on January 25, 2018.
Although AHS representatives may call to discuss mammography details, they will never ask a patient to conduct a breast self-exam over the phone.

If you receive a phone call of this nature, please hang up, note the time and any other call details and do the following:

  • Immediately after you hang up with the caller, pick up the phone again, wait for the dial tone, then press “*” then “5” then “7”.
  • Wait for a voice recording to tell you that the call has been traced then hang up.  “*57” will create a trace of the previous call that the police or RCMP can access later.
  • After completing the above *57 steps, hang up again, and immediately contact local police or RCMP on their non-emergency line.  Be sure to inform them you dialed *57 after the call of concern.

 If you are uncomfortable with calling police directly or are uncertain whether the call is legitimate, you can call AHS’ Screening Program Client Support Line at 1-866-727-3926.
An AHS privacy investigation is underway. As it is an active and ongoing investigation we cannot comment further.

AHS and RCMP encourage anyone who has experienced this issue to please call your local police or RCMP.
Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.

For media inquiries, contact:

Kristin Whitworth
AHS Communications