Stool sample

There are several ways to screen for colorectal cancer. The method used in ColorectalScreen Norway is a test for invisible blood in the stools. You take this test at home and send it in for analysis to the ColorectalScreen Norway.
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You will receive a sample set in the mail. You take a small sample of your stool and put it in a test tube provided. You send this to our laboratory at Akershus University Hospital for analysis.

How to collect the stool sample

Click on the video below to see how to collect the stool sample.

Within four weeks after we receive the sample, you will receive a reply irrespective of the test result. 

If blood is detected in your stool during screening, you will be called in for a colonoscopy examination at the hospital. This involves examining the inside of your intestine. Of 1,000 people who submit the stool sample, 60 will be informed that blood has been detected. They will be advised to have this further investigated by colonoscopy at the hospital.

Find more information about how a colonoscopy is performed here.

Blood in the stool does not always mean cancer

The sample you take cannot say whether you have cancer or not. It can only reveal if there are traces of blood in your stool. There are several reasons why one can bleed from the bowel. Cancerous tumors and polyps can bleed, but there can also be other and completely innocent causes.

One in 20 with detected blood in the stool are found to have colorectal cancer. In most people who come for a colonoscopy after stool screening, we do not find anything seriously wrong.

Repeating the test every two years

If no blood is found in the stool, you will be offered a new sample every two years until the age of 65. By repeating the tests, the goal is to detect more cases of colorectal cancer.

  • Sometimes a stool sample does not show signs of blood, even if you have colon cancer. One in four people with cancer will have a normal test and thus not be detected by the screening test.
  • Cancer can develop after you take the test.

Screening is not a gurantee against colon cancer

Participating in colorectal screening provides no guarantee against colon cancer in the future. Therefore, you should talk to your doctor if you experience persistent bowel symptoms, even if you have recently participated in the screening program.

Examples of such symptoms are:

  • visible blood in the stool
  • a change in bowel habits
  • weightloss
  • a feeling that your bowels have not emptied properly

Lifestyle and dietary habits can affect your risk of colorectal cancer. Engaging in physical activity can reduce the risk, while factors like high body weight, alcohol consumption, and eating processed meat can increase the risk of colorectal cancer.

Learn more about cancer prevention.