Immense numbers of cancer scans in Denmark delayed – The Post

Immense numbers of cancer scans in Denmark delayed

Lack of resources not an excuse, contends cancer society

Breast cancer screenings often lead to a misdiagnosis (photo: iStock)
October 2nd, 2015 10:53 am| by Christian W

All five regions in Denmark are guilty of being routinely late in informing women of their need to have a breast cancer scan, according to the consumer TV program Kontant, produced by the national broadcaster DR.

Since the end of 2007, all women aged 50-69 have been offered the possibility to be scanned for breast cancer. The women who accepted the offer should be regularly scanned with intervals not exceeding two years and three months. But that hasn’t been the case for over 100,000 women.

“We know that the screening program works by reducing the mortality rate and increasing their chances of survival,” said Iben Holten, a doctor with the cancer society Kræftens Bekæmpelse, told DR Nyheder.

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Lacking resources
The delays mean that the lumps can spread elsewhere and that is critical, continued Holten.

“When they do, they first spread to the lymph nodes in the armpit and they must be operated on too,” she said.

“And there is a risk that some of the cells have reached the bloodstream and can manifest in other areas.”

The capital region Region Hovedstaden has admitted it has called around 70,000 women to their screenings too late. It blames a health system under duress due to a lack of resources.

But according to Natasja Balslev, a lawyer with Kræftens Bekæmpelse, a lack of resources shouldn’t be an excuse for the delays.

“We have a difficult time believing that you can excuse yourself by saying there aren’t enough funds, resources, manpower or whatnot,” said Balslev.

“The task was predefined and money has been allocated for its solving.”