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Northwestern urges cancer patients to check statements after data breach

The breach happened in April through a vendor system that provides cancer data to the state of Illinois.

The logo of Northwestern Medicine
A data breach at a vendor might have exposed some cancer patients’ information, Northwestern Memorial said Friday.
Sun-Times file photo

Northwestern Memorial Hospital is urging some of its cancer patients to check their treatment documents after an unauthorized individual got a hold of a database containing patient information.

“We regret this incident occurred and we are committed to protecting the security and privacy of patient information. This incident did not involve access to any of the Northwestern Memorial Healthcare systems, network, or electronic health records,” the hospital said in a statement Friday.

The breach happened in April at Elekta Inc., a company that provides cancer patient data to the state of Illinois, according to Northwestern.

“During that time, the unauthorized individual acquired a copy of the database that stores some of [Northwestern Memorial HealthCare’s] oncology patients’ information,” the hospital said.

The information might have included patient names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, medical histories and diagnoses.

Northwestern said patients’ financial account and payment card information was not involved.

The hospital said it learned about the breach from Elekta on May 17. Patients with concerns are asked to call 855-731-3327 between 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“Based on the nature of the incident and its investigation, Elekta has no reason to believe that any of the data involved was or will be misused or will be made available publicly,” according to the hospital.