UTERINE CANCER FOLLOWING FIBROID TREATMENT WITH POWER MORCELLATOR
Keller, Fishback & Jackson LLP represents women suffering from uterine sarcomas (a type of uterine cancer that forms in connective tissue) following treatment with a power morcellator to remove uterine fibroids.
A power morcellator is a device used during laparoscopic surgeries to divide tissue into smaller pieces or fragments in order to facilitate tissue removal through small incision sites. In treating uterine fibroids, these procedures include removing the uterus (hysterectomy) or removing uterine fibroids (myomectomy).
The use of these devices during a hysterectomy or myomectomy poses an increased risk of spreading unsuspected cancerous tissue, especially uterine sarcomas, into the abdomen and pelvis, causing the cancer to metastasize and significantly worsening the patient's prognosis for long-term survival.
FDA Safety Communication
In April 2014, the FDA issued a safety communication about the risk of spreading uterine sarcomas beyond the uterus when power morcellation is used for hysterectomy or myomectomy. For this reason, and since there is no reliable method for predicting whether a woman with uterine fibroids may have a uterine sarcoma, the FDA discouraged the use of a power morcellator during hysterectomy or myomectomy.
Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths that develop from the muscular tissue of the uterus. Most women develop uterine fibroids (known as leiomyomas) during their lifetime, although most cause no symptoms. In some cases, however, fibroids cause symptoms, including heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding, pelvic pressure or pain, or frequent urination. Surgical intervention, such as a hysterectomy or myomectomy, to relieve the symptoms may be necessary.
Based on information compiled by the FDA, an unsuspected uterine sarcoma, a type of uterine cancer that includes leiomyosarcoma, is detected in 1 in 350 women undergoing hysterectomy or myomectomy for the treatment of fibroids. Uterine leiomyosarcomas are the most common uterine sarcomas, accounting for about 25% to 36% of all uterine sarcomas. Leiomyosarcomas are notorious for their aggressive nature and poor prognosis, and become more dangerous when morcellation spreads the malignancy beyond the uterus. The age at diagnosis is usually between the ages of 47 and 56.
There is no known reliable method to differentiate benign growths from malignant leimyosarcomas or other uterine sarcomas. There are several reasons for this including 1) the absence of symptoms specific to leiomyosarcomas, 2) the similarity in symptoms between benign leiomyomas and malignant leiomyosarcomas and 3) the location of the malignancy below the surface of the endometrial tissue. Most leiomyosarcomas are detected only incidentally at the time of histopathological evaluation of uterine tissue following hysterectomy or myomectomy.
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If you or a loved one was diagnosed with uterine cancer after undergoing power morcellation, contact us today for a free legal consultation at 1-866-529-4968 or 1-866-LAW-4-YOU.