Other types of screening

The Mass Screening Registry also monitors scientific evidence obtained about the screenings of other types of cancers. The most scientific evidence has so far accumulated concerning screenings for the prostate, lung, stomach, and ovarian cancers.

The Mass Screening Registry has participated in an international prostate cancer screening study whereby men aged 55-67 years were invited to screenings over the 1996-2007 period. The study investigated the suitability of the PSA test for prostate cancer screening. For more information on the study: European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer (ERSPC).

Other scientific evidence on benefits and harms of cancer screening has been compiled in the publication Cancer in Finland 2016.


Between 2004 and 2014, the Mass Screening Registry as part of the Finnish Cancer Registry, planned and directed the initiation of screening for colorectal cancer in a randomized setting in those municipalities that agreed to begin screening. By the end of 2016, more than 200 000 women and men had participated in screening. The interim evaluation of the screening programme indicated that screening had not reduced mortality compared to uninvited controls after a 4.5-year monitoring period. However, the screening programme improved the survival of colorectal cancer patients among those individuals that had not been invited for screening, which partly explains the apparent lack of difference in mortality.

New screening based on FIT test will be starting again in volunteering municipalities at the beginning of year 2019 and will be widened into a national programme in a later phase.

New Strategy for Colorectal Cancer Screening


The aim of the research was to investigate the impact of colorectal cancer screening on the health-related quality of life and lifestyle. This is achieved by combining information gathered by questionnaire and with data obtained from the Finnish Cancer Registry on screening and cancers.
The data were collected in 2010 and 2012 from randomly chosen men and women born in 1951. The questionnaire was sent to the same cohort a year before their first invitation for colorectal cancer screening and again the year following the screening invitation. Questionnaires were sent to more than 10 000 people in both study years.
The questionnaire covered lifestyle factors related to colorectal cancer, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, exercise and diet. Also knowledge of and worries about colorectal cancer and experienced bowel symptoms were asked. Half of the questionnaires also included additional questions about health-related quality of life (the 15D measure).
The research data is of international significance for its content and extent. If you are interested in using the questionnaire survey data, please contact Tiina Hakanen for advice on data requests: kirjaamo@cancer.fi.

Most important publications:

Effect of a pre-screening survey on attendance in colorectal cancer screening: a double-randomized study in Finland

Respondent selection in a repeated survey on lifestyle within the randomized colorectal cancer screening programme

Lifestyle in population-based colorectal cancer screening over 2-year follow-up

Research team: Nea Malila, Sirpa Heinävaara, Sanni Helander, Maija Jäntti, Suvi Mäklin, Tytti Sarkeala

Funding: Cancer Foundation of Finland, grant for psychosocial cancer research for 2009

Collaborating institution: National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL)

Lead researcher: Professor Nea Malila