Questions about colorectal cancer screening

How does the selection process work?

Municipalities decide to organize screening for colorectal cancer. All willing municipalities can launch screening.

Research evidence demonstrates that screening should target 60-74 year olds and the screening interval should be set to two years.

For the first two years of screening (2019-2020), only 60-66 year olds were invited to screening. The screening expands to the entire target population one age group at a time. That is why in 2021-2022 the invited age group is 60-68 year olds. By year 2028 all 60-74 year olds are invited to screening.

The effectiveness of the screening program is monitored in the Finnish Cancer Registry. If necessary, changes are made to the program.

Why aren’t people under 60 years of age invited to screening?

Most of the colorectal cancers are found in people over 60 years of age. Research evidence indicates that screening should target 60-74 year-olds.

Why doesn’t my home municipality provide colorectal cancer screening?

Municipalities decide independently to organize screening for colorectal cancer. All willing municipalities can start screening.

Can I have a screening test privately?

Private testing is not recommended because the test is not the same as the screening. Screening is a chain of health-care activities that target a specific age group at regular intervals. In addition to the test, the screening process includes the necessary follow-up examinations and any further treatment and care.

In screening, the participants receive the test result directly for themselves without asking separately. The participants are also directed to follow-up and treatment whenever there is a need for them. After the right screening interval, they are invited to the screening again.

The quality and effectiveness of screening is continuously monitored and evaluated: if something does not work well, it is corrected.

You should not wait for a screening invitation if you have symptoms or worries about cancer. In such a situation, you should contact your doctor directly.