Guest Post by Lindsey Caldwell
The month of September is National Gynecological Cancer Awareness month. The women’s cancer community has been in debate over a controversial device called a power morcellator, so this month’s awareness focus couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time!
Over the years, minimally invasive procedures have become more and more common. Before making the decision to move forward with any procedure, specifically a hysterectomy or myomectomy, weighing risks and benefits is an important step to take in making the right decision for oneself. Power morcellators may be responsible for spreading undetected cancer throughout the pelvis and abdomen of female patients, and prior to having the procedure, there is no clear way to determine if a woman with fibroids has uterine sarcoma.
According to the latest statistics available, approximately one patient in every 350 has previously undetected uterine fibroids that contain the malignant sarcoma cells. While this figure may seem quite low, it is important to remember how many women undergo a hysterectomy or similar procedure during their lives.
For some great information surrounding the ongoing issue, visit American Recall Center’s power morcellator page, as well as taking a look below at the following alarming statistics about the device in question.
· What is a Power Morcellator? A device used in hysterectomies to cut tissue into small pieces to be removed from the body. However, uterine cancers sometimes go undetected prior to the procedure. In these cases, the morcellator dices up and spreads unsuspected cancer inside the woman’s body.
· Hysterectomy is the 2nd most common surgery among women in the United States
· By age 70, one out of three American women will have had a hysterectomy
· 90% of these surgeries are done to remove Fibroids (non-cancerous tumors found in the uterus)
· The average life span following accidental morcellation of sarcoma is only 24-36 months
· Only 15% of women who have leiomyosarcoma (LMS) that has spread (stage 4) will be alive after 5 years
· Women with sarcoma who are morcellated are about 4 times more likely to die from sarcoma than if they had not been morcellated
Check out the diagram above put together by the American Recall Center to see how power morcellation works.
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