About the national screening programmes

The purpose of mass examinations against cancer (screening) is to detect cancer or precursor to cancer before the disease spreads. When treated early, the chances of curing the disease is often better.
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The Cancer Registry is in charge of the national screening programmes for breast and cervical cancer. A new screening program, targeting colorectal cancer is also being planned.

The resposibility for the screening programs involves management, invitations, IT-logistics, as well as the continuous effort to ensure high quality of procedures and data, through evaluation of the results.

The screening-based research focus on data on incidence, tumor growth and mortality, and on vaccination studies to prevent HPV-infection.

Read more about BreastScreen Norway, CervicalScreen Norway and ColorectalScreen Norway.

Preconditions for screening

In order to concider screening in the prevention of cancer or cancer deaths, several preconditions must be present. Among these are:

  • The disease must be an important health challenge for the society
  • The disease must be detectable by a test before symptoms arise.
  • There must be a treatment available for early detected disease, in order to provide better life prospects for patients with early detected disease.
  • The health care system must also have the capasity to offer good quality treatment to all that are diagnosed within the screening programs.

It is important to be aware that the screening test is not a diagnostic test, but is sorting apparently healthy persons into two groups: the ones that are likely to have the disease and the ones that most likely do not have the disease.

If a test is positive, the person must undergo further examiniations before a final diagnosis can be determined.