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Accurate diagnosis prior to power morcellation is unlikely

In our past two posts, we have discussed the recent news regarding power morcellators being used in gynecological surgeries. This tool has been used to cut up uterine fibroids, and in some cases, the uterus, so it could be removed laparoscopically. It was touted to have saved women from more invasive surgery; however, it turns out that the power morcellator might not be all it seemed.

A study released in the Journal of the American Medical Association says that 1 in 386 women who have a myomectomy or hysterectomy because of presumed fibroids actually have hidden sarcomas. That study was conducted by doctors at Columbia University who studied more than 36,000 cases of women who had a hysterectomy that used the power morecellator.

Upon looking at the data, it was found that 99 women were unexpectedly diagnosed with uterine cancer after the morcellation procedure. Another 368 had an abnormal multiplication of cells in the endometrial tissues, 39 had abnormal uterine tumors and 26 had gynecologic malignancies. The greatest risk is for women who were over 65 years old. It is estimated that out of every 10,000 U.S. women, 300 in that age group would have uterine cancer found after morecellation.

The problem here is that it is almost impossible for doctors to find hidden sarcomas prior to performing surgery. One doctor says the answer is to not "mince up people's tumors" without knowing that the tumor isn't cancerous. That doctor goes on to say that mincing up those tumors will cause Stage 4 cancer.

While there is a chance that the benefits of the power morcellation procedure could outweigh those risks, it is vital for all women to understand the risks. All doctors, including those who treat our Washington, District of Columbia, readers, should let women know about the risk of spreading cancer by doing the morcellation procedure. If you had this procedure and weren't informed of the risks, you might opt to seek compensation. Other women might also opt to seek compensation if they developed cancer after having a procedure that used a power morcellator.

Source: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, "'They blasted it all over'" Diane Mapes, Dec. 19, 2014

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