When will the screening program be available for you?
Screening for colorectal cancer is done using a test for blood in the stool that participants can take at home and send in for analysis. Some individuals will then be notified that they should undergo further examination with a colonoscopy at their nearest screening center. In order for hospitals to be able to receive these patients effectively, the program needs to be implemented gradually.
The colorectal screening program is estimated to take about a year from the first to the last screening centers being ready to receive participants. To ensure that all systems are functioning properly, the program started with a pilot phase at two healthcare institutions in the Southeastern region of Norway: Østfold Hospital and Bærum Hospital, Vestre Viken, in May 2022. After a successful pilot phase, the program commenced implementation at screening centers throughout the country on an ongoing basis.
Many prerequisites before commencement
There are many aspects that need to be in place before the first invitations are sent out. Colorectal screening is offered to individuals who do not initially exhibit symptoms of colorectal cancer. Therefore, the examinations in the screening program should not interfere with other patients who require colonoscopy examinations. Hospitals need to establish rooms for colonoscopies and ensure an adequate number of doctors, nurses, and pathologists to prevent unnecessary waiting times for other patients.
In addition, there is a significant amount of data and technology that needs to be implemented to ensure that the screening program operates consistently across different healthcare regions and that participants receive the same level of service regardless of their location.
Possible changes may occur during implementation
While the schedule for the implementation of the Colorectal Screening Program in different healthcare regions has been determined, changes may occur along the way. Local circumstances that present challenges may arise, and we must also consider that the demanding situation caused by the pandemic may result in delays.
Contact your GP if you have symptoms
Even if you are in the age group that can expect to receive an invitation, you should not wait for it if you experience symptoms of colorectal cancer, such as blood in the stool, abdominal pain, and irregular bowel movements. In such cases, you should contact your general practitioner.