What is screening?

Many people think of screening primarily as an examination taking place at your GP’s or in a hospital. In ColorectalScreen Norway, most people will do the screening test at home and won't need to visit the health service in person.
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Screening can be described as a search for something undetected. It is a way of identifying apparently healthy people who may have a condition like colorectal cancer, or is at risk of developing it. With screening, we can distinguish between those most likely to be healthy, and those who ought to be examined further.

The method used in Norway is a stool sample that is tested for traces of invisible blood. You collect a stool sample at home with a test kit, and then send it to our laboratory for analysis.

Find out more about collecting the stool sample.

Colonoscopy is adviced for some participants

If the laboratory finds blood in your sample, you will be adviced and invited to have a colonoscopy at the hospital. The call for a colonoscopy does not mean that you have cancer, but that you should be examined further to make sure you do not have an illness.

In a group of 1000 screening participants who submit a stool sample, 65 will have blood detected and be invited to have a colonoscopy. Of these 65 people, only 2 will be diagnosed with cancer. Many people will undergo a colonoscopy without finding anything wrong.

Find out more about the colonoscopy examination.

The screening must be repeated every other year

The aim of screening is to detect cancer cases at an early stage. Unfortunately no method detects everything and cancer can be missed in a round of screening. Cancer can also develop at a later time.

Therefore, you will be offered to submit a stool sample every other year from the age of 55 to 65. In total, you will be offered to test a total of five times.

If you are invited to and attend a colonoscopy after sending in a stool sample, the invitations for further screenings will stop. During the colonoscopy, your colon will also be examined for polyps which will be removed to further reduce the risk of cancer for years to come.

Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms

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

Examples of such symptoms are:

  • blood in the stool
  • a change in bowel patterns
  • weight loss without knowing why
  • a feeling that your bowels are not emptied properly.