Cancer treatment criticized

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Norwegian cancer patients must often wait much too long for treatment to begin, according to a new report, and even state health authorities have been criticizing their own system.

Newspaper Dagbladet reported that an overview from the agency handling patient complaints found that poor screening and follow-up has actually shortened the lives of many cancer patients. They based their findings on the 482 patients who applied for compensation between 2001 and 2009 after dissatisfaction with the treatment they received in Norwegian hospitals. Fully 180 were granted compensation because “unsatisfactory screening and deficiencies in following up warning signals led to cancer diagnoses being made too late.”

State Health Minister Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen has acknowledged that waiting times for exams and follow-up are much too long at some hospitals. The hospital in Kristiansund was worst, with lung cancer patients waiting more than 90 days for treatment to begin and colon cancer patients waiting 55 days.

Strøm-Erichsen agreed that improvement was needed and calls are going out for treatment guarantees, to speed up the process.

Views and News staff