Colorectal cancer screening

Screening for colorectal cancer decreases mortality from colorectal cancer. Early onset cancer requires less invasive treatment and causes less distress. For these reasons EU recommends screening for colorectal cancer.

The new colorectal cancer screening programme starts in Finland in 2019.

In 2019-2020 all 60-, 62-, 64- and 66-year-old men and women are invited in volunteering municipalities. The programme expands gradually and eventually all 60-74-year-olds will be invited every two years.

In 2019 screening is offered in these municipalities:

Jyväskylä, Orivesi, Oulu, Paimio, Sauvo, Säkylä, Tampere, Ylitornio

Screening hub is Fimlab Laboratories in Tampere. The screening hub sends out invitations, analyses the samples and sends out the result letters. The screening test is an immunochemical feacal test (FIT) for finding hidden blood in stool. The screening kit is mailed to the invitees. The screening kit includes an invitation to screening, the screening test, information about screening and instructions on taking the sample. Only one sample is required and the invitees take it themselves at home and mail it to the screening hub. A returning envelope with postal fee already paid is enclosed with the kit.

Participating is free of charge for the invitee. The screening participant receives a written result of the screening test by mail. Those with a positive screening test confer additional examination with a screening nurse in their municipality of residence. Additional examination is usually a colonoscopy. The municipality organizes colonoscopies according to their standard procedure.

Questions about colorectal cancer screening

The European Union recommends the use of colorectal cancer screening by its member states (1). New screening programmes have been launched in the Netherlands and in other Nordic countries. The recently published report from the International Association for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded colorectal cancer screening with a feacal test to decrease colorectal cancer mortality effectively (2, 3). Finnish Cancer Registry has planned the restarting screening programme in collaboration with Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and a group of clinical experts.

The randomized colorectal cancer screening programme that ran in Finland in 2004-2016 covered nearly half of the population. For more information on the randomized programme, please visit our website on research.

The main indicators of randomised colorectal cancer screening programme ongoing in years 2004-2016 can be found in screening statistics (in Finnish) (in Finnish).


1.       European Colorectal Cancer Screening Guidelines Working Group. European guidelines for quality assurance in colorectal cancer screening and diagnosis: overview and introduction to the full supplement publication. Endoscopy 2013; 45: 51-9.
2.     IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention Volume 17: Colorectal Cancer Screening (pdf)
3.     IARC:in tuore raportti tuo pontta Suomen suolistosyövän seulontaohjelman aloitukseen