A third of cancer patients don’t receive needed surgery

Only two thirds of patients received necessary cancer surgery in 2011

Every year about 900 Danes are afflicted with pancreatic cancer. Three hundred of those are considered candidates for surgery, but according to Politiken newspaper, only 200 of those actually received the operation in 2011. Even with the advances in treating pancreatic cancer with chemotherapy and radiation therapy, surgery is the only effective way of removing the disease.

Patients eligible for treatment at Rigshospitalet had to wait the longest, in part because the hospital performed the most surgeries. One hundred and twelve patients were treated at  Rigshospitalet – about one in every three – compared to only 85 patients at hospitals in Odense, Aarhus and Aalborg combined.

“We may have a problem,” Per Gandrup, the head of the surgical division at Aalborg Hospital, told Politiken. “There should be no difference. Care should be the same across the country.”

According to a recent study, cancer cases in Denmark are on the rise. From 2007 to 2011, the number of patients being treated for cancer in Denmark rose 20 percent, and the number of patients receiving chemotherapy or radiation treatments for the disease have doubled. From 2007 to 2009, the proportion who survive the first year with cancer increased by three percentage points to 72 percent for men and 75 for women.

One out of every three Danes will experience some type of cancer during their lifetime.