More than 5,000 people were given overdoses of radiation in a French cancer treatment ward, 10 times more than initially thought, Health Minister Roselyne Bachelot said Monday.
Some 5,500 patients, including many men suffering from prostate cancer, now are known to have received excessive amounts of radiation due to a calibration error at the general hospital in northeastern Epinal between 1999 and 2006.
Of these, 715 were exposed to dangerous doses of radiation, 24 were seriously affected and five have died.
When the scandal was first revealed last year, only 421 cases were recorded. Another 300 were confirmed a few months later.
The French government has launched an overhaul of radiotherapy equipment and training procedures to avoid a repeat of the accident.
Some 300 people have so far received compensation payments of around 10,000 euros (16,000 dollars) each, according to a victims' association.