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Technique Used in Some Hysterectomies May Help Spread Cancer: Study
Date:7/22/2014

By
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, July 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Removing the uterus with a minimally invasive procedure known as morcellation carries a risk of spreading undetected cancer, and now a new study pinpoints the likelihood more clearly.

Twenty-seven of every 10,000 women who had the technique had undetected uterine cancer at the time of the procedure, researchers found, with the odds being highest for patients over the age of 65.

Surgeons performing a hysterectomy with morcellation use a power cutter to slice uterine tissue into smaller fragments, and then remove those fragments through small incisions in the abdomen via a tube or laparoscope.

"With this procedure, you are breaking up the uterus," said study researcher Dr. Jason Wright, chief of gynecologic oncology at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City.

"You are essentially cutting through a cancer [if it is present] and that could theoretically spread the cancer to outside the uterus," he explained.

That risk is not present when the uterus is removed intact, as in a conventional hysterectomy, he said.

For the new study, published online July 22 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Wright evaluated insurance data from more than 500 hospitals. Previous research, he said, centered on reports from single hospitals, which estimated the risk at 9 to 100 of every 10,000 women who underwent the procedure.

In April, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a safety alert, discouraging use of power morcellation for removal of the uterus or uterine fibroids (noncancerous growths that can cause bleeding between periods or pain) because of the cancer risk.

Other options are available that don't involve morcellation, accord
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