Gothenburg cancer scandal grows

At least 24 more cases of missed cancer diagnoses from a doctor employed at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg in western Sweden have been discovered.

Gothenburg cancer scandal grows

“It is unacceptable error that has been made and we are now doing everything we can to contact the affected patients,” said head physician Mats Tullberg to news agency TT.

Earlier this spring Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) reported that a doctor had missed at least 27 skin cancer diagnoses over a period of several years.

Shortly after, the hospital announced that they had decided to retest samples taken by the doctor spanning a period of up to five years.

“A follow up examination of tests from pigmented skin lesions revealed 27 cases of misdiagnosis. These can be connected to a pathologist who was employed on an hourly basis as a pensioner and who is no longer working at the hospital,” they said in a statement at the time.

The doctor was a long-term employee at the hospital until mid May and the hospital felt it was unable to rule out the possibility of more undetected cases.

The investigation discovered several more cases of misdiagnosis and the hospital started to contact the patients concerned last Friday, They are hoping to have been in touch with everyone by the end of the week.

According to specialist John Paoli of Sahlgrenska, there are many patients that are concerned after the discoveries of misdiagnosis.

“But most can feel reassured that they have received the correct treatment,” he said to Göteborgsposten.

According to Paoli, a tissue sample is always removed with a large safety margin before being sent to the pathologist for evaluation.

This means that the misdiagnoses of the pathologist may not have such major ramifications, he said to Göteborgsposten.

“But we are bringing everyone in for a new test. Of course we must be on the safe side,” said Paoli to Göteborgsposten.

The hospital has decided to widen the investigation to include samples taken by the doctor between 1999 and 2005.

In the wake of the last discovery Linköping University Hospital in central Sweden announced plans to review diagnoses by a doctor previously reported seven times for misdiagnosing cancer following revelations of similar errors.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Nordic twins help reveal higher cancer risks

A comprehensive study of twins in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland has led to new revelations about increased cancer risks among siblings.

Nordic twins help reveal higher cancer risks
If one twin gets cancer, the other has a higher risk of getting sick too. Photo: Colourbox
Twins share the same genes, and when one gets cancer, the other faces a higher risk of getting sick too, according to a study published on Tuesday that included 200,000 people.
But just because one twin falls ill does not mean that the other is certain to get the same cancer, or any cancer at all, according the report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
In fact, the amount of increased risk of cancer was just 14 percent higher in identical pairs in which one twin was diagnosed with cancer.
Identical twins develop from the same egg and share the exact same genetic material.
Among fraternal twins, which develop from two eggs and are as genetically similar as typical biological siblings, the risk of cancer in a twin whose co-twin was infected was five percent higher.
The twins in the study hailed from Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway — all countries that maintain detailed health registries — and were followed between 1943 and 2010.
When researchers looked at the group as a whole, they found that about one in three individuals developed cancer (32 percent).
Therefore, the risk of cancer in an identical twin whose twin was diagnosed was calculated to be 46 percent.
In fraternal twins it amounted to a 37 percent risk of developing cancer if a co-twin was diagnosed.
The exact same cancer was diagnosed in 38 percent of identical twins and 26 percent of fraternal pairs.
The cancers that were most likely to be shared among twins were skin melanoma (58 percent), prostate (57 percent), non melanoma skin (43 percent), ovary (39 percent), kidney (38 percent), breast (31 percent), uterine cancer (27 percent).
“Because of this study's size and long follow-up, we can now see key genetic effects for many  cancers,” said Jacob Hjelmborg, from the University of Southern Denmark and co-lead author of the study.
Researchers said the findings may help patients and doctors understand more about the hereditary risks of cancer, a disease that kills eight million people around the world each year.