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Medical Device Spreads Cancer Instead of Removing It


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5/28/2015
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When most people think about getting cancer they think it will happen through genetics, mutations, family history, carcinogens and many other things that are known to lead to cancer.

But they rarely think that it could be spread through a medical instrument or simply by being obese.

CBS news reports on a device that has been spreading cancer.

The instrument has now been withdrawn from the market after reports that it has been spreading cancer in countless women.

The FBI and other investigators are now also investigating how much the Johnson & Johnson and other big companies knew about the device before issuing it to hospitals for surgical use.

Surgeons used the device, known as a laparoscopic power morcellator, during particular minimally invasive hysterectomy procedures or to take out uterine fibroids. The morcellator device ground up tissue so it could easily be taken out through tiny incisions.

“But when the device was used on women who had undiscovered uterine sarcoma cancer, it had the effect of spreading cancerous tissue throughout the abdomen and pelvis,” according to CBS news.

The Food and Drug Administration also issued a warning about the device. They said the morcellator posed a risk of spreading cancer. The FDA started to require that a warning be printed on the label.

The device was made by Ethicon, which is a division of Johnson & Johnson. It advised physicians to stop using them and withdrew them from the market, but models made by other companies remain available.

CBS reports, “Prior to that, about 60,000 such procedures were performed every year”, estimated Dr. William Maisel, who is the deputy director for science and chief scientist at the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

At least one of the patients affected with cancer from a morcellator has been interviewed by the FBI about her case. This patient is a doctor herself, known as Dr. Amy Reed, an anesthesiologist and mother of six. She became an outspoken critic of the devices after she underwent a hysterectomy with a morcellator at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital in 2013. Tests conducted thereafter showed she had cancer that had spread through her abdomen.

Reed's husband, also a doctor, Dr. Hooman Noorchashm, told CBS News

“The couple had reached out to the FBI starting in late 2013 and finally, agents in New Jersey listened. He said they were interviewed last October and again recently about their concerns.”

A new rare way of cancer spreading from adolescence has also gained steam. Researchers are now linking bowel cancer to obesity during childhood.

BBC news reports on the new study. “Being overweight in adolescence is linked to a greater risk of bowel cancer later in life, researchers followed nearly 240,000 Swedish men for 35 years. The analysis showed overweight teenagers went on to have twice the risk of bowel cancer.”

Many organizations, such as the World Cancer Research Fund, have said that the link between obesity and cancer is quite strong. Bowel cancer is actually the third most common cancer in the world right now.



Category: Misdiagnosis and Failure to Diagnose


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