Death of a 24-year Old of Cancer Reported to the Directorate of Health Skip to content
Photo: Krabbameinsfélagið, Facebook.

Death of a 24-year Old of Cancer Reported to the Directorate of Health

The relatives of a 24 year old woman who died three years ago have reported her death to the Director of Health. The woman had been screened for cervical cancer at the Icelandic Cancer Society in 2013 and not notified of cell changes indicating cervical cancer. The lawyer handling the damage claim against the Icelandic Cancer Society is looking into 25 cases.

Three cases have been reported to the Director of health after mistakes during the testing process were discovered. The lawyer handling the damage claim, Sævar Þór Jónsson, is looking into 25 more cases where test analysis might have been mishandled. He says another comparable case will probably be reported to the Director of Health today, a woman who wasn’t notified of cell changes after her test in 2016. She later fell ill and was found to have incurable cancer. Sævar says there are indications that mistakes were made in sample analysis for years and the culprit is the Cancer Society’s operations, not unique employees.

Last month, a woman who was screened for cervical cancer in 2018 was found to have incurable cancer that might have been prevented had she been diagnosed earlier. Since then, the Cancer Society has been working on reexamining samples from 6,000 women. More than sixty women have been called in for further examination based on the revised test results. The Cancer Society issued a statement claiming the mistakes could be traced to one employee who had already resigned by the time the results of their mistakes were discovered. Since then, the Cancer Society’s practices have been under scrutiny. The Icelandic Cancer Society is a non-governmental organisation that has been conducting cervical cancer screenings since 1964. They receive 334 million ISK annually from the government to run the screenings.

Two years ago, a committee was formed to consider the future organisation of cancer screenings. They found that legislation on the issue needed to be more precise and that changes should be made. The healthcare authorities’ contract with the Icelandic Cancer Society is up at the end of the year, and from then on, cervical cancer screenings will be performed in local healthcare clinics and breast examinations at the National University Hospital of Iceland.

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