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Colorectal cancer screening

Colorectal cancer means cancers of the colon and the rectum. It is the third most common cancer in Finland: over 3,000 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer every year.

Take part

In Finland, municipalities provide free screening.

Screening or mass screenings aim to detect cancers at as early a stage as possible, making cancer treatment appreciably easier. Screenings can reduce the use of heavy cancer treatments and above all the number of deaths due to cancer.

For whom and why?

Screening for colorectal cancer will be made nationwide in Finland from 2022. Screening will be introduced among men and women aged 60-68 years. Screening will be expand gradually, to finally concern all 56-74 year-olds, who will be invited every two years. Colorectal cancer is most common in this age group.

Colorectal cancer screening


You receive the invitation at home by post. You can take the sample at any suitable time. The invitation cannot be sent to persons with a non-disclosure for personal safety. If this is the case, you should contact the screening implementer yourself.


The screening sample is taken at home during a visit to the toilet. The sample is posted to the screening laboratory in the cardboard envelope. The postage for the return envelope is prepaid.


The sample is examined in a laboratory. The analysis looks for blood that cannot be detected with the naked eye.


You receive the result at home by post.



Normal result –you will receive your next invitation in 2 years.



There is blood in the sample. If the sample contains blood, the letter will provide instructions on how to contact the screening nurse of your home municipality to determine the cause of the blood.

Approximately four out of every 100 people have a positive test result, which means that the stool contains hidden blood. It usually does not mean cancer, but the cause of the blood must be determined.


Colonoscopy Usually the cause of the bleeding is determined by colonoscopy.

The examination unit (health centre or hospital) provides you with detailed instructions on colonoscopy. Colonoscopy is performed with a flexible tube. During the examination the doctor can take biopsies and remove small tumours.



Treatment If cancer is diagnosed in the follow-up examinations, you will receive necessary treatments.