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Morcellator Update: What you should know about Uterine Cancer

Our weekly posts on morcellators have mentioned the link between the defective medical device and women developing aggressive uterine cancer (uterine sarcoma). Our last post even discussed a recent study showing how gynecologists are revamping their approach when it comes to hysterectomies. However, I think it’s important to inform you of the risk factors and symptoms of uterine cancer whether or not you have undergone laparoscopic surgery with a power morcellator. Uterine cancer happens to be the fourth most common cancer in the U.S., and the most commonly diagnosed gynecologic cancer. Also, for a moving story about a doctor battling cancer read this Wall Street Journal article.

Risk Factors of Uterine CancerAll Cancer Awareness - Uterine Cancer and Morcellators

According to the CDC several factors may increase your chance of developing uterine cancer. They include:

  • Age (older than 50);
  • Obesity;
  • Taking estrogen by itself (without progesterone) for hormone replacement during menopause;
  • If you have had trouble getting pregnant, or have had fewer than five periods in a year before starting menopause;
  • If you take tamoxifen, a drug used to treat certain types of breast cancer; and
  • If you have close family members who have had uterine, colon, or ovarian cancer.

According to the CDC, in 2011 (the most recent year numbers are available) 47,537 women in the United States were diagnosed with uterine cancer, and sadly 8,641 women died from it.

 Symptoms of Uterine Cancer

According to the CDC and the American Cancer Society, the following are symptoms of uterine cancer:

  • Vaginal discharge,
  • Abnormal bleeding,
  • Pain or pressure in pelvis, and
  • A mass which can be felt.

If you feel you have any of these symptoms it is important to see a doctor right away. You have the best knowledge about whether or not your vaginal bleeding is not normal. If you believe you have bleeding that is abnormal for you, especially if you have already gone through menopause, it is recommended that you see a doctor right away.  The CDC also states that you should see a doctor if you have any other signs or symptoms (listed above) for two weeks or longer. This way, the doctor can see if your symptoms are caused by something other than cancer, which is often the case. However, you will only know if you see your doctor.

Stages of Uterine Cancer

There are four stages of uterine cancer. The earlier the stage, the higher the likelihood of survival. The stages are determined by how the cancer has spread. Some stages have sub-stages, but the basic stages are as follows:

  • Stage 1: the cancer is only in the uterus.
  • Stage 2: the cancer is growing outside the uterus but is not growing outside the pelvis.
  • Stage 3: the cancer is growing into tissues of the abdomen in one place only; the cancer is growing into tissues of the abdomen in 2 or more places, but has not spread to lymphnodes or distant sites; the cancer is in the uterus in any size and may have grown into tissues in the pelvis or abdomen, but has not spread to the bladder or rectum; or the cancer has spread to lymphnodes near the uterus, but has not spread to distant sites.
  • Stage 4: the cancer has spread to the urinary bladder or rectum, and/or to distant organs such as bones or lungs.

If You have been Diagnosed with Uterine Cancer

If you, or someone you know, has undergone a myomectomy or hysterectomy with a power morcellator and were diagnosed with sarcoma or other uterine cancer after undergoing the surgery, please contact McDivitt Law Firm right away for a free case evaluation.

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