Uterine Fibroid Morcellators May Spread Cancer
Uterine Fibroids are tumors that form on the inside of the walls of the uterus. In most cases, they are non-cancerous. However, the tumors may contain cancerous cells in some cases, known as leiomyosarcoma, endometrial stromal sarcoma or other uterine cancer.
In recent years, a number of women requiring uterine fibroid removal surgery have undergone a laparoscopic hysterectomy or myomectomy, where a power morcellator was used by the surgeon to cut up the tissue and remove it through a small incision in the abdomen. However, for women with undiagnosed uterine sarcoma, this surgical tool may have caused cancerous cells to be spread throughout the body.
The uterine fibroid cancer lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. are reviewing potential product liability claims against the manufacturers of power morcellators, which were sold without sufficient warnings or information about the risk the devices may pose for some women. Request a free consultation and claim evaluation.
Uterine Fibroid Surgery Morcellation
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), most American women will develop uterine fibroids at some point in their life. One study suggests that 70% of white women and 80% of African American women will develop fibroids by the time they turn 50.
In most cases, these fibroids cause no apparent symptoms. However, in some cases uterine fibroids have been linked to infertility, miscarriage, early onset of labor and other problems.
When uterine fibroid problems are experienced, it is more likely that women will undergo either a hysterectomy to remove the entire uterus or a myomectomy to remove the fibroid tissue.
In recent years, many surgeons recommended women undergoing laparoscopic uterine fibroid surgery, using a power morcellator to enter through a small incision in the abdomen, grinding up the uterus or uterine fibroids so that the tissue may be removed through a minimally invasive procedure.
According to the NIH, more than 200,000 hysterectomies are committed each year on women who have uterine fibroids. The FDA recently estimated that about 50,000 of those done annually in recent years involved the use of uterine fibroid morcellators.
On April 17, 2014, the FDA warned that the use of morcellators could spread leiomyosarcoma (LMS) or other cancer during uterine fibroid surgery, causing aggressive cancerous cells to be spread throughout a woman’s body. The FDA estimates that one out of every 352 women who undergo what they believe to be benign uterine fibroid removal had an undiagnosed case of sarcoma. That number is about one out of every 500 for the more dangerous LMS.
Amid increasing evidence linking the use of morcellators for uterine fibroids and cancer, many doctors and hospitals have announced that they will no longer use the devices, and manufacturers are facing pressure to issue uterine fibroid morcellator recalls to remove the devices from the market.
In November 2014, the FDA announced that “black box” warnings will be added to power morcellators about the risk with uterine fibroid removal spreading cancer.
Uterine Fibroid Cancer Class Action Lawyers
There are a number of alternatives doctors can use instead of laparoscopic uterine fibroid morcellation, including medications that can alleviate symptoms and shrink fibroids. Some drugs are similar to birth control pill formulations and include gonadotropin-releasing hormones that tell the woman’s body she is undergoing menopause, and drugs that block the hormone progesterone, which can help feed uterine fibroid growth.
There are also a number of surgical procedures that do not include morcellation, such as removal of the uterus through the vagina. In many cases these procedures have been used for decades and are known to be relatively safe and easy from which to recover.
If adequate warnings and information about the risk of cancer from morcellation had been provided by the manufacturers, many women may have avoided the devastating consequences of uterine fibroid cancer being spread throughout the body, reducing the chances for long-term survival and diminishing the overall quality of life.
The lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A, are investigating potential uterine fibroid cancer lawsuits and class action claims for women throughout the United States who may have been injured by the use of a power morcellator. Request a free consultation and claim evaluation to review a potential case for yourself, a friend or family member.