Were You Diagnosed with Cancer Following a Hysterectomy?


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Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration advised that physicians no longer use a surgical device that is routinely used in hysterectomies as it can potentially spread undetected cancer cells throughout the body, making the odds of cancer survival much worse. However, since the FDA issued its warning, researchers have found that the device, a laparoscopic power morcellator, could spread more cancer types than originally thought. A laparoscopic power morcellator is a device that has blades that pulverize the uterus or uterine fibroids so that the tissue can be removed through tiny incisions, allowing the patient faster recovery times. A new study conducted by researchers at Columbia University and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that 1 in 368 women who undergo hysterectomy have undiagnosed uterine cancer that can be spread throughout the body by morcellation. While uterine sarcomas have been the focus of morcellation dangers, this new research shows that morcellation may spread other types of cancer as well including endometrial cancer, other types of gynecological cancer, and pre-cancerous tissue. This study confirms that a segment of women are unnecessarily placed at risk by use of power morcellators. Part of the problem is that some sarcomas can be very difficult to diagnose and can be misidentified as benign fibroid tumors, and in the case of endometrial cancer, sometimes the patient has very few symptoms. The safety issues of power morcellation for hysterectomy garnered national attention last year after an anesthesiologist in Boston underwent a routine hysterectomy in which what was thought to be a benign fibroid was morcellated and inadvertently spread cancer cells, seeding them throughout her abdomen. Study authors and the FDA are recommending that physicians discuss the risks and benefits of power morcellation with their patients and educate patients regarding all available uterine fibroid treatment options. Women who have fibroid tumors or those who are facing hysterectomy must consider all their options, and talk to their physicians about their individual risks of undetected cancer. While the FDA has advised against its use hysterectomies, some hospitals continue to use the device but are placing the uterus in a bag before morcellating it reduce the risk of spreading cancer cells. Some women who have undergone a hysterectomy and had a cancer diagnosis following their surgery are questioning whether morcellator manufacturers knew about the risks of using these devices for uterine fibroid removal and hysterectomies but kept that information from healthcare professionals and the public. Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon, one of the largest sellers of power morcellators, halted sales of their morcellators and recently issued a voluntary return of these devices.

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If you or a loved one were diagnosed with cancer following a hysterectomy performed with a power morcellator, contact the attorneys at Clore Law Group as we evaluate the potential for a class action lawsuit. If you believe your cancer diagnosis stems from gynecological surgery done with a power morcellator, call us today for a free case analysis. It is important that you discuss your surgery and cancer diagnosis with a highly experienced law firm. Call the experienced medical malpractice team at Clore Law Group now at 843-722-8070.

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