Colorectal or bowel cancer is the third most common cancer type in Finland. Every year, about 3,600 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer and about 1,300 people die from it. The goal of screening is to reduce deaths from colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer screening is based on a test that detects hidden blood in stool. Colorectal tumours may bleed slightly in the early stages. Screening allows the detection of blood in the stool before it is visible to the naked eye. Cancer is easier to treat and cure when it is diagnosed at an early stage.

Näyteputkia telineessään.

A hand with a blue rubber glove taking a tube from a racket.

Who can participate in the screening?

People aged 60 – 70, whose year of birth is 1953, 1955, 1957, 1959, 1961 or 1963, will receive an invitation to a colorectal cancer screening test in 2022. In the future, screening tests will be increased in stages so that from 2031, people aged 56–74 will be asked to carry out a screening test every two years in the even-numbered years. A screening invitation will be sent to the above-mentioned age groups every two years.  Screening should be repeated regularly, as one test only reflects the current situation.

Invitations will be sent in a phased manner throughout the calendar year. Cancer screening is part of municipal health care and it is free of charge.

The ISLAB laboratory centre receives the names of screening invitees from the Finnish Cancer Registry’s mass screening registry. Persons with an order of non-disclosure will not receive an invitation for screening, so they should contact the ISLAB laboratory centre’s customer advice directly (tel. 044 457 0740 Mon–Fri 7.30–15) to arrange a screening test.


You will receive a screening invitation at your home address. The invitation will include instructions for taking a stool sample as well as the sampling equipment. In addition, you must write down your preliminary information on the paper form that is delivered together with the invitation letter or electronically at seula.hus.fi. Screening is free of charge.

  • Take the sample at home by collecting some of your stool on the tip of the sample stick (please see instructions here).
  • Return the sample to the laboratory by mail in the return envelope that was delivered together with the invitation. Postage has been paid in advance.
  • Test results will be delivered in a personal letter within one month of returning the sample.

Everyone who receives an invitation can participate in the screening. No diseases or medication are an obstacle to taking the test. You do not need to fast or stop taking any medication. The stool sample can be taken at any time of the day.

Paljon näyteputkia vaaleanpunaisilla korkeilla.

Ordering a new sampling kit

If necessary, you may order a new sampling kit at www.seula.hus.fi. To log in, you will need the letter-number combination on the barcode label of the invitation letter and your date of birth.

Alternatively, you can order a new sampling kit by calling the ISLAB laboratory centre’s customer service for patients (tel. 044 457 0740 Mon–Fri 7.30–15).

 Screening results

Test results will be delivered in a personal letter within one month of returning the sample. Results will not be provided over the phone nor will they we uploaded to the My Kanta pages.

Screening is used to detect hidden blood in the stool.

  • A negative or normal result means that no blood was found in the stool. In this case, the next screening invitation will be sent again in two years.
  • A positive result means that hidden blood was detected in the stool. About four people out of a hundred receive a positive test result, and they will then be submitted to further examinations. The test results letter includes the contact information for the screening nurse in your municipality.

If occult blood is detected in the stool, it is usually due to reasons other than cancer. Such reasons include, for example, haemorrhoids, intestinal infections or benign tumours. To find out the exact cause, a colonoscopy is usually performed on the patient. More detailed information about colonoscopy and how to prepare for it will be provided by the screening nurse in your municipality.


Submitting data to the mass screening registry of The Finnish Cancer Registry

The ISLAB laboratory centre forwards summaries of their colorectal cancer screenings to the Finnish Cancer Registry’s Mass Screening Registry, which includes data on mass screenings throughout Finland. Data collection is based on the law. In addition, the ISLAB laboratory centre also provides the municipality that has ordered the service with a summary of the screening tests. The summary provided to municipalities does not reveal individual test results.

Didn’t find what you were looking for? Need help?

Customer service for patients
044 457 0740
Mon–Fri 7.30–15