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Hidden cancer risks for Hysterectomy and Fibroid Removal


Uterine cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women in the United States and the most commonly diagnosed gynecologic cancer[1]. Prior to a hysterectomy or fibroid removal (myomectomy), the FDA estimates that approximately 1 in 350 women have an unsuspected uterine sarcoma, a type of uterine cancer that includes leiomyosarcoma.[2]

Stages of Endometrial (Uterine) Cancer

Undetected uterine cancer is frequently in Stage I, during which time, a woman could have no symptoms. However, shredding undetected tumors with a power morcellator can spread cancerous cells and upstage the disease. This “cancer seeding” can significantly worsen the patient’s long-term survival. After surgery, the cancer can progress from Stage I to Stage IV rapidly. Uterine cancer that has been upstaged by morcellation, such as leiomyosarcoma, is very aggressive. Some patients had the cancer spread to their spine or lungs. These tumors are difficult to treat, in large part because they are resistant to chemotherapy and radiation.

According to the American Cancer Society, endometrial cancer is staged based on examination of tissue removed during an operation. This is known as surgical staging, and means that doctors often can’t tell for sure what stage the cancer is until after surgery is done.

Stage I

The cancer is only growing in the body of the uterus. It may also be growing into the glands of the cervix, but is not growing into the supporting connective tissue of the cervix. The cancer has not spread to lymph nodes or distant sites.

Stage II

The cancer has spread from the body of the uterus and is growing into the supporting connective tissue of the cervix (called the cervical stroma). The cancer has not spread outside of the uterus. The cancer has not spread to lymph nodes or distant sites.

Stage III

The cancer has spread outside of the uterus or into nearby tissues in the pelvic area.

Stage IV

The cancer has spread to the inner surface of the urinary bladder or the rectum (lower part of the large intestine), to lymph nodes in the groin, and/or to distant organs, such as the bones, lungs, or the omentum (a layer of fatty tissue that covers and supports the intestines and organs in the lower abdominal area).

Hysterectomy and Fibroid Removal Power Morcellator Cancer Symptoms

Some symptoms that could signal upstaged cancer after morcellation, include:

  • Vaginal bleeding or spotting, between periods or especially after menopause
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain or a mass
  • Pelvic or abdominal swelling
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea or vomiting

If tumors affect other organs or bones such as the spine, symptoms could include back pain or nerve issues.

In 2014, the FDA issued a black box warning against the use of laparoscopic power morcellators. If you had a minimally invasive hysterectomy or myomectomy (fibroid removal) call us today at 1-800-ELK-OHIO. You may be entitled to compensation.



[1] U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group. United States Cancer Statistics: 1999–2011 Incidence and Mortality Web-based Report. Atlanta (GA): Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Cancer Institute; 2015.

[2] U.S Food and Drug Administration. (2014, November 24.) Laparoscopic Uterine Power Morcellation in Hysterectomy and Myomectomy: FDA Safety Communication. Retrieved from http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/Safety/AlertsandNotices/ucm424443.htm.