On Friday 1 March 2024, Luxembourg's Ministry of Health and Social Security confirmed that the month of March, called “Blue March”, is dedicated to the prevention and screening of colorectal cancer. 

Around 220,000 people are diagnosed each year in Europe, a figure that is constantly increasing. In Luxembourg, colorectal cancer represents the second cause of cancer death, but if detected early, it is curable in 9 out of 10 cases. Screening therefore plays an essential role.

Increase the participation rate in the organised colorectal cancer screening programme to better fight this disease

In Luxembourg, there has been an organised colorectal cancer screening programme (PDOCCR) for three years, which is managed by the Centre for Coordination of Cancer Screening Programmes of the Health Directorate.

Since then, around 200,000 screening invitations have been sent out. Participation in organised screening is still quite low (currently around just 34% of tests are carried out following an invitation) but has been steadily increasing since the launch of the programme. The screening test remains essential to help in the fight against this disease. Indeed, colorectal cancer is a cancer that develops quite slowly, often without pain or digestive signs, and from lesions called polyps which can bleed into the intestine. Bleeding linked to a polyp or cancer is not visible to the naked eye, hence the importance of the test which is intended to detect this bleeding.

How does the organised screening programme work?

People aged 55 to 74, resident in Luxembourg and affiliated with the Caisse nationale de santé (CNS), receive an invitation every two years to participate in this screening programme. Non-residents of Luxembourg, in the targeted age group and affiliated with the CNS can also participate in this programme, by contacting the Centre for Coordination of Cancer Screening Programmes by tel: 247-75550 or by email: colorectal@ms.etat.lu.

The screening consists of a test for blood in the stool. This test is easy to use and can be done at home. People who have received an invitation can order a sampling kit free of charge from an approved laboratory. The result of the screening test will be sent to them directly by the laboratory.

In the event of a positive result, people are invited to contact their doctor to discuss the relevance of a diagnostic colonoscopy. The list of centres and doctors approved by the Health Department to carry out colonoscopies within the framework of the PDOCCR can be found on the website sante.lu/colorectal.

Prevention actions planned by the Ministry of Health and Social Security for the month of Blue March

On the occasion of the month of Blue March, a communication campaign is organised by the Ministry of Health and Social Security to encourage those concerned to participate in the screening programme: awareness posters will be displayed in pharmacies and medical offices; explanatory videos will be relayed on social networks; meetings will be organised at markets to allow those concerned to obtain further information.