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Common Uterine Procedure May Cause Cancer to Spread, Doctors Say — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
December 19, 2013

Common Uterine Procedure May Cause Cancer to Spread, Doctors Say

By Amy Orciari Herman

Four Boston physicians are seeking a moratorium on uterine morcellation — a common procedure used to eliminate fibroids laparoscopically — over concerns that it might cause undetected cancer to spread, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The WSJ says that in a draft article submitted to the New England Journal of Medicine, the physicians argue that a higher-than-expected number of women (nearly 1 in 400) have undetected cancer in their fibroids. Grinding the fibroids during morcellation, they say, can cause cancerous cells to spread in the abdomen, potentially tripling one's 5-year mortality risk.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists maintains that morcellation is "very low risk," the WSJ reports, and the group "has no immediate plans" to offer guidance on how physicians should counsel patients about the procedure.

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