Colorectal Cancer Screening Program in BS and BL

Colon cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in Switzerland. Without preventive care, more than 5% of the Swiss population develop colon cancer. It is also one of the types of cancer that can often be cured or even prevented with the right prophylactic care.

In 2020, canton Basel-Stadt initiated a preventative screening program with the aim of avoiding the development of colon cancer—or to discover it as early as possible to be able to cure it. The program is carried out by the Krebsliga beider Basel (Basel Cancer League), in close cooperation with the Basel medical community, in particular general practitioners and gastrointestinal specialists. Staggered invitations have been sent out to residents ages 50 to 69 since autumn 2020, and around 4,000 people have taken part in the screening program so far. Interested people in Basel-Stadt can also register at any time on their own initiative and order a personal invitation via the website

The same cantonal colorectal cancer screening program is now also being introduced in canton Basel-Landschaft. Since February 1 of this year, women and men ages 50 to 69 will receive invitations to a voluntary colon cancer check-up over the next five years. In addition, those interested in this age group can register at any time on their own initiative and order a personal invitation via the website Inclusion in the program takes place after receiving the invitation by registering on the website, either directly or after consulting a doctor. 

Both the “blood in the stool” test and the complete colonoscopy are available as examination methods. The stool test is repeated every two years in the program, and the colonoscopy every 10 years. The letter of invitation and the website provide information about both options. The costs of participating in the colorectal cancer screening program are covered by the health insurance companies without a deductible, so that program participants only have to pay 10% of the costs.

With the introduction of the joint screening program in both cantons on February 1, 2023, it is now possible to grant freedom of movement within the two cantons with regard to the choice of doctor or patient admission to participating service providers within the framework of the program. This makes the program more attractive for the participants, which will hopefully translate to higher participation rates.