The Ministry of Health and Social Security is extending the age groups covered by organised breast and colorectal cancer screening programmes

The Ministry of Health and Social Security announced today an extension of the age groups for organised breast and colorectal cancer screening programmes. The aim of this decision is to step up prevention and improve treatment for these diseases.

Organised screening will now be available from the age of 45. This will make it possible to detect any abnormalities earlier and take preventive action to limit the risk of complications. In addition, breast cancer screening will be available to women up to the age of 74.

Until now, the breast cancer screening programme was aimed at women aged between 50 and 70, while the colorectal cancer screening programme was reserved for men and women aged between 55 and 74.

The decision to widen access to organised breast and colorectal cancer screening follows a recommendation by the Council of the European Union [1] and approval by the Luxembourg Scientific Council on Health. This strategic change is supported by medical data and scientific studies demonstrating the effectiveness of early screening.

In fact, early screening for colorectal and breast cancer has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of mortality. Earlier screening not only enables cancers to be detected more quickly and less invasive treatments to be prescribed, but also offers affected patients a better response to whatever treatment they receive. And to offer the benefits of this early detection even at an advanced age, it is proposed to extend the age limit for breast cancer screening from 70 to 74. This extension will make it possible to identify cases at an early stage even in this age group, thereby increasing the chances of cure.

"By extending access to breast and colorectal cancer screening, we are making a firm commitment to systematic early detection, which can significantly improve the chances of recovery", said Martine Deprez, Minister of Health and Social Security.

How will this work?

From 1 July 2024, the Health Directorate will be sending out new invitations for screening, including patients in the new age brackets.

Every resident of Luxembourg affiliated to the CNS, aged between 45 and 74, will receive:

  • for women, invitations to take part in breast and colorectal cancer screenings;
  • for men, an invitation to take part in colorectal cancer screening.

To facilitate coordination with the various partners involved in these programmes (laboratories, hospitals, doctors, etc.), these invitations will be staggered according to the year and month of the beneficiary's birthday in 2024 and 2025.

Insured persons not resident in Luxembourg and affiliated to the CNS, who are in the target age group, are also invited to take part in this programme by contacting the cancer screening programme coordination centre by telephone on 247-75550 to receive an invitation.

For more information on the mammography programme:

For more information on the colorectal cancer screening programme:

[1] 2022/0290 Council Recommendation on strengthening prevention through early detection: a new EU approach on cancer screening replacing Council Recommendation 2003/878/EC

Press release by the Ministry of Health and Social Security 

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