Screening means examination of the population or a certain part of the population, or sampling in order to discover a certain disease or its precursor or to identify a pathogen.

The purpose of screening is to look for early signs of a disease before the disease is detected in some other way, for example, through symptoms. 

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is responsible for legislation on screening.

Under Finland’s national screening programme, the wellbeing services counties must organise screening for the early detection of: 

  • breast cancer
  • cervical cancer
  • colorectal cancer
  • foetal chromosome and growth defects during pregnancy

The wellbeing services counties may carry out screening examinations themselves or procure them from other service providers. The counties must also provide their residents with sufficient information on the objectives, organisation and effectiveness of screening examinations and the possible risks involved with them. 

County residents are entitled to screening

The wellbeing services counties are responsible for organising screening for their residents. Participation is voluntary and free of charge.

The following groups are invited to screening:

Breast cancer screening

  • women aged between 50 and 69
  • every 20–26 months

Cervical cancer screening

  • women aged between 30 and 65
  • every five years

Colorectal cancer screening

  • in 2022, men and women aged 60, 62, 66, 66 and 68 
  • screening will be expanded by age group, and all 56–74-year-olds will be covered in 2031
  • every two years

Screening offered to pregnant women

  • at different stages of pregnancy
  • general ultrasound examination during early pregnancy, detection of chromosomal abnormalities, and structural ultrasound examination

More information

If you have any questions concerning your screening schedule or invitations to screening examinations, please contact the health services of your wellbeing services county. You should also first contact your wellbeing services county if you are not satisfied with the service, care or treatment you have received. 

Further information