Uterine fibroids, benign tumors of the uterus, are incredibly common in women of childbearing age with up to 25 percent of women having them. After the age of 50, the percentage increases to 70 percent for white women and 80 percent for black women. While some are symptomless and eventually go away on their own, some women experience pain and abnormal bleeding and need to have them removed surgically.
However, earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that a device commonly used to remove fibroids, called a power morcellator, may be spreading undiagnosed cancer.
Despite this warning, most physicians are still using them.
“Because some cancers, called myosarcomas, may look like benign fibroids before surgery, power morcellation can spray cancerous cells throughout the abdominal cavity, allowing malignant tumor to implant and grow all over,” explains Joseph A. Lucci, III, MD, a gynecologic oncologist and professor at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).
“Myosarcomas don’t normally spread that way. That kind of recurrence in the abdomen is unique to use of that device.”
The FDA did not ban the procedure, as some women may benefit from this type of surgery, which has fewer risks compared to traditional procedures in which the abdomen is opened. If you need to have fibroids removed, here are three questions to ask your surgeon that may help you decide:
- What exactly are you going to do?
- What are the risks?
- What do my imaging tests reveal?
If you or a loved one is living with Uterine Fibroids, call us directly or fill out the form below to see if you qualify for our clinical research study!