Prostate cancer surgery. Photo: Ingvar Karmhed/TT
Prostate cancer surgery. Photo: Ingvar Karmhed/TT

Prostate cancer patients face six-month wait for treatment

"Long waiting times causes stress and anxiety"
4:59 min

Men who suffer from high-risk prostate cancer have to wait an average of 167 days to get treatment, according to a new report by the Swedish Cancer Society.

Jan Zedenius, cancer researcher and medical expert with the Cancer Society, tells Radio Sweden that it is awful to have to wait for treatment regardless of what type of cancer you have, but that it is unacceptable that patients who suffer from prostate cancer have to wait up to six months for treatment.

"To wait for treatment this long is very stressful and causes anxiety and worry. It is not acceptable," Zedenius says.

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in Sweden. Approximately 10,000 men are diagnosed with the disease each year and only three in four patients survive, but it is difficult to say if shorter waiting times would improve this figure, according to Zedenius.

"It is difficult to say how this affects the number of deaths just looking at registry data, but individual patients feel very stressed about this," Zedenius says.

According to the survey, prostate cancer patients have to wait several times longer than patients who suffer from other types of cancer. Breast cancer patients, for instance, wait an average of 20 days for treatment. The survey also suggests that there are great regional differences in how long prostate cancer patients have to wait to get treatment.

Zedenius says that Swedish health care is committed to cutting down the waiting times, but that there is a shortage of medical specialists.

"There is a lack of resources in many parts of Sweden. There is a lack of urologists, oncologists and pathologists, but counties also have to focus much more on actually cutting down the waiting times," Zedenius says.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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