How a power morcellator could spread cancer

Power morcellators were once praised for their ability to remove noncancerous tissue and fibroids during a hysterectomy or a myomectomy.  The morcellators worked by entering through a small incision in the abdomen and breaking up masses into smaller pieces that were then removed.  However, a link was soon found between women undergoing procedures with these devices and then developing dangerous forms of uterine cancer. In fact, according to Williams Kherkher, 1 in 370 of women who underwent a procedure involving a power morcellator result in the development of some form of uterine cancer.

Before these procedures, many doctors failed to check patients for cancerous growth or tissue. When this is the case, power morcellators often spread cancerous tissue and cells into other areas of the body, leading to more serious or developed types of cancer.  Some of the major types of cancer caused by power morcellators include metastatic leiomyosarcoma, uterine cancer, uterine sarcoma, and endometrial stromal sarcoma.  All of these cancers have the potential to be life-threatening if not caught in the early stages.  Unfortunately, many unsuspecting women can become victims of these dangerous cancers after a procedure involving a power morcellator.

The FDA issued a “black box” warning for these morcellators. According to the pharmacy Walgreens, a black box warning is the strictest warning put in the labeling of prescription drugs or medical products by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) when there is reasonable evidence of an association of a serious hazard with the drugs or product. While the makers of the devices, Johnson & Johnson, recalled them in 2014, the warnings came too late for many women who had already developed uterine cancer.


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