Frequently asked questions

I received a positive test results for faecal occult blood as part of the Svit Programme. Can the test be repeated?

The repetition of the test is not recommenced according to the professional doctrine; therefore, we are not repeating it within the Svit Programme. Possible pathological changes in large intestine and rectum can bleed in intervals, therefore the results could be false negative the second time.

I received positive test results. What now?

If your test results were positive, you should visit your general practitioner who was already informed about your positive faecal occult blood test results. After a check-up and discussion with you, your general practitioner will determine if your health condition is suitable for colonoscopy.

You may need to change your current medications before the colonoscopy procedure, since they might affect the course of the examination (especially anticoagulants). Do not stop taking any medications without your doctor’s consent and follow their instructions.

Call us immediately after your doctor’s appointment, or you can ask the nurse to call the Svit Programme Call Centre on 01/62 04 521 from Monday to Friday between 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM and inform us on whether your health condition is suitable (or not suitable) to undergo a colonoscopy. We will arrange the time and place for the colonoscopy that fits in with your schedule. You can also e-mail us at info@program-svit.si or send us a fax to 01/62-04-529. The list of colonoscopy centres is available here.

We will send you a notice by post with the exact date and time of the colonoscopy and the address of the clinic where you will undergo the examination together with the instructions for colon cleansing.

In order for the colonoscopy to be successful, your colon must be thoroughly cleansed beforehand. If there will be residues of the stool in your colon, the doctor will not be able to see the colon mucous and the examination will have to be repeated.

You can reach the cleanliness of the colon in two ways:

  •   with adaptation of nutrition a few days prior to examination;
  •   by drinking special laxative solution.

It is extremely important that you follow the instructions for colon cleansing thoroughly. In this way the procedure will be successful and safe.

Instructions for colon cleansing – Morning examination.

Instructions for colons cleansing – Afternoon examination.

 

Are there any circumstances in which the stool sample collection is not suitable?

The following circumstances are not suitable for stool sample collection:

  •  Menstrual bleeding;

  • External or internal haemorrhoids, which are bleeding and were confirmed by your doctor;
  • Blood in the urine;

  •  Diarrhoea.

You can collect stool samples after you deal with the abovementioned circumstances. If you need additional information, you can call us at 01 620 45 21 from Monday to Friday between 9.00 AM and 2.00 PM.

I have received a test kit for collecting stool samples. Because I have constipation, I am not sure if I will be able to take both samples in the period of four days. What should I do?

We recommend that you try drinking something from free sales, which is known to have a diuretic effect. Do this on an empty stomach. If this is not successful, you can use mild laxatives, which are available in pharmacy. Consult your pharmacist. If this also doesn’t work, you should consult your general practitioner.

I would like to know about the so-called family burden of colorectal cancer.

Almost one fourth of colorectal cancer patients have this disease in the family. We are not completely aware of the reasons for this, but it seems that the family is probably more prone to the disease and also the risk factors (smoking, harmful substances in the food, fatty food, not enough fruit, vegetables and fibres in food, not enough exercise and similar).

If a family member (father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister) was diagnosed with colorectal cancer before the age of 60 years, it is advised that their closest relatives (father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister) undergo a colonoscopy examination 10 years before the age when that family member was diagnosed or at 40 years of age. This colonoscopy has to be repeated every five years if the result was negative. If a family member was diagnosed with cancer when they were older than 60 years, their closest relatives (father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister) are advised to have a first colonoscopy examination at the age of 40 and if the results are normal, the procedure must be repeated every ten years.

I am 48 years old. I have been treated for chronic inflammatory bowel diseases for longer period. Is there any possibility of my inclusion in the Svit Programme?

You will be invited to the Svit Programme, when you will be 50 years old, because the programme is aimed at people aged 50 to 74 years.

According to the fact that you are diagnosed with chronic inflammatory bowel disease, you are probably supervised by a gastroenterologist. We advise you to take regular check-ups and tests prescribed by your gastroenterologist.

What are the signs of colorectal cancer?

Symptoms and signs of colorectal cancer are not characteristic; most of them are connected with other diseases:

  • Abdominal pains, flatulence, gasses;
  • Different bowel movements (softer or harder stool, change in the frequency of defecation, constipation or constipation followed by diarrhoea);
  • Visible blood in the stool – fresh bleeding or black stool;
  • Thin stool;
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Anaemia and related symptoms – fatigue, vertigo and tinnitus, general malaise;
  • Unintentional weight loss.

What are the risk factors for colorectal cancer?

Age – 90 % of all patients are older than 50 years when they are diagnosed. Thus, professionals advise diagnostic and screening tests in this age period.

Genetic burden – people, whose relatives were diagnosed with colorectal cancer, have a twice greater risk.

Nutrition – the risk of developing colorectal cancer increases with the consumption of meat products and fatty foods. Experts advise diverse food with a lot of fruit and vegetables, which are rich in fibres.

Unhealthy lifestyle – smoking, alcohol consumption, not enough exercise, obesity (BMI ≥ 30). Healthy lifestyle protects you not only from cancer but also from many other diseases.

Chronic inflammatory bowel diseases increase the risk of developing cancer. Ulcerous colitis and Crohn’s disease are the most common chronic inflammatory bowel diseases.

I would like to know whether joining the Svit Programme could replace the colonoscopy.

Joining the Svit Programme cannot replace the colonoscopy. If you have been advised the colonoscopy from medical reasons, it is important that you undergo the procedure. The Svit Programme includes a screening test for occult blood in your stool. This screening test among the asymptomatic population (people without problems or diseases symptoms) enables us to detect people at risk for colorectal cancer.

I am not 50 years old yet. Can I join the Svit Programme?

The Svit Programme is the screening and early detection programme for colorectal cancer, which is aimed at men and women aged 50 to 74 years. If you are not in this age group, you are not able to participate in the Programme. You will be invited, when you will be 50 years old. If you have problems with defecation (fresh blood in your stool, black stool, thin stool, constipation followed by diarrhoea, abdominal pains, and unintentional weight loss) immediately consult your general practitioner and do not wait for our invitation. Consult your general practitioner if any of your close relatives was diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

Does the positive faecal occult blood test mean that I have cancer?

If the faecal occult blood test was positive this doesn’t necessarily mean you have cancer. In order to clarify the cause of bleeding, you will need an examination of the large intestine – a colonoscopy.

What kind of screening test is used in Svit Programme?

The Svit Programme uses immunochemical test for faecal occult blood. The test can be either negative or positive.

How do I join Svit Programme?

The Svit Programme is the national screening and early detection programme for colorectal cancer. It is aimed at men and women aged 50 to 74 years. You cannot enter the Svit Programme self-initiatively. You will receive invitation from the Svit Programme central unit. The only condition is mandatory health insurance. If you have problems with defecation (fresh blood in your stool, black stool, thin stool, constipation or diarrhoea, abdominal pains, unintentional weight loss) immediately consult your general practitioner and do not wait for our invitation.

What is a polyp?

A polyp is a tissue formation (growth), which grows from the mucous membrane and protrudes from the lining of the colon or rectum into the colon. This growth can just be on the surface of the intestinal mucous membrane. Small polyps often don’t cause any problems. If they do, the most common one is bleeding from the colon, which is usually not visible. Polyps grow and can in time turn into a cancerous formation, thus they count as precancerous changes. They need to be removed as soon as possible.

What do you mean with “Screening within the Svit Programme”?

The general objective of the Svit Programme is to detect people at higher risk for developing or those who already have colorectal cancer with the help of faecal occult blood testing. The aim of the programme is mainly in detecting the so-called precancerous changes – polyps (adenomas), which may lead to developing cancer.

What does “screening” mean?

“Screening” means examining seemingly healthy people with a simple test. It is a special procedure where we invite seemingly healthy people in order to detect the ones who are at great risk of having a pre-stage or early form of cancer in question.

What is the target population?

It is aimed at men and women aged 50 to 74 years, who have mandatory health insurance.

What is the Svit Programme?

The Svit Programme is the national screening and early detection programme for colorectal cancer. The Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia covers all costs of the programme.

What is the prevalence of colorectal cancer in Slovenia?

Colorectal cancer is a disease with high morbidity and mortality levels. The prevalence of cancer increases and around 1,600 people are diagnosed every year in Slovenia. It represents the second most common cause of death due to cancer. Colorectal cancer can be treated if it’s discovered and treated in early developmental stage.

What is colorectal cancer?

If the cells in the large intestine or rectum start dividing uncontrollably, a tumour develops. Tumours can be malign or benign. Malign tumours in the large intestine and rectum are called colorectal cancer. Cancer cells divide fast and spread into the surrounding tissues, even into other body parts, where they metastasize.