Early detection often increases the possibility of effective treatment and reduces cancer mortality. For cancers where there are good screening methods, screening is an effective measure to detect cancer early.
In Sweden, there are three national screening programs in the field of cancer. It is the National Board of Health and Welfare that investigates and recommends whether a screening program should be implemented. The implementation then takes place in the 21 regions through political decisions.
The three nationally recommended screening programs that exist are screening for breast cancer, cervical cancer and colon and rectal cancer. RCC believes that all residents of Sweden should have access to the screening programs decided by the National Board of Health and Welfare and that participation in the screening programs should be high and equal.
Cancer screening is considered the primary factor in the steady decline in colon and rectal cancer incidence over the past decade. RCC is coordinating the ongoing national introduction of colorectal cancer screening in Sweden, the regional on-going pilot tests for organised prostate cancer testing as well as pilot tests for lung cancer screening.
High rate of participation
In breast cancer screening, participation is around 85%. (2021)
As not all regions in Sweden have yet included the entire target population in the screening for colon and rectal cancer, it is difficult to obtain the participation rate (nationally) at the present time. The screening program is being expanded continuously until the year 2026 and the participation rate can only be reported on a national level when the entire target population is included.
In cervical cancer screening, coverage rate is used as a measure that accounts for the proportion of women in the target group for screening who have a gynecological pap smear, for HPV or cytology, registered within a time interval corresponding to the screening program. The coverage rate in Sweden is around 82-83% (2021).
Organised Prostate Cancer Testing
The RCC is also tasked with supporting the regions in the work on organised prostate cancer testing (OPT). OPT aims to make today's PSA testing more equal and structured. During 2023, the majority of Sweden's regions are expected to have started OPT. Results from the regional projects will provide the National Board of Health and Welfare with additional information before a possible new investigation of a national recommendation on screening for prostate cancer.
Development and research
RCC also support development and research to improve cancer screening, for instance information and communication actions, risk-based screening and AI- projects.