Friends of the Public,
Many women have been harmed and have died prematurely or unnecessarily because of a routine but avoidable gynecological practice known as MORCELLATION. This world-wide practice has devastated many families for well over two decades now.
More than 600,000 hysterectomies are done in the US every year. By the age of 70, one out of every three American women will have had a hysterectomy. About 90% of these surgeries are done for what is presumed to be a benign condition called fibroids. More and more of these surgeries are done with minimally invasive techniques. Usually, to get the uterus out of the body using the "minimally invasive" technique, it is cut into small pieces with a machine called a morcellator. However, a devastating problem happens if in fact the woman did NOT have fibroids – but if she actually had cancer. Unfortunately, the tests that are done before a hysterectomy do not identify these cancers well. Many gynecologists don't even bother getting any tests. In fact, morcellating cancer spreads the cancer inside the woman’s body.
This is called ‘up staging’ the cancer.
It is important to understand:
1) The average life span following accidental morcellation of sarcoma is only 24-36 months.
2) Only 15% of woman who have leiomyosarcoma (LMS) that has spread (stage 4) will be alive after 5 years.
3) Women with sarcoma who are morcellated are about 4 times more likely to die from sarcoma than if they had not been morcellated.
This is an avoidable disaster.
This problem has been recognized for more than two decades. A review of the literature reveals that 1 in 415 women who go for fibroid surgery actually has sarcoma. This means that everyday 2-5 women in the US – and more around the world will have a deadly cancer spread because of morcellation.
This catastrophic problem has happened in our own family and we are fighting to stop this dangerous activity called morcellation. A chance of 1 in 415 for such a devastating outcome is much too high to accept. Women should be told the truth and the practice should stop.
Please help us bring an end to spreading cancer with morcellation. There are alternatives. Some surgeons have begun using a special bag to avoid spreading cancer cells. Several of the reasons why this has not yet become commonplace are the fact that: a) bag morcellation takes more time – and time is money; b) lack of training; and c) lack of awareness. Other people opt for a traditional open hysterectomy. People need to understand their options – but – currently, most women never hear anything about morcellation or about the possibility of cancer upstaging. We need your help.
Please sign our petition so we can get the word out. We want the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology to change this "standard of care" by ending the needless waste of life caused by spreading cancer with morcellation.
For more information and original references see: http://journals.lww.com/oncology-times/blog/onlinefirst/pages/post.aspx?PostID=188 ) (also see:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23189178) (also see:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21565389).
The attached video below shows an example of morcellation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMnzQbRMWJ8
The following companies manufacture and distribute uterine morcellator devices:
1) ETHICON: Gynecare morcellator
2) Storz: Rotocut Morcellator
3) Richard Wolf Medical Instrumentation Company
4) LiNA: LiNA Xcise Cordless Laparoscopic Morcellator
5) Blue Endo MOREsolution Tissue Morcellator
Intuitive Surgical's Da Vinci Robot deserves special mention, as the frequency of robotic hysterectomies performed by minimally invasive gynecologists is currently on the rise across the United States. Note that Intuitive Surgical builds and markets the DaVinci robot, which is not itself a "morcellator". However, use of the DaVinci robot almost invariably appears to require that the uterus be minced up, or morcellated, into smaller pieces inside the woman's belly cavity in order to extract from the abdomen. A clear example is shown in the following YouTube video of DaVinci being used to perform a robotic hysterectomy and manually morcellating the uterus using the endo-wrist component of the robot (morcellation is being performed at minute 5:30 of the video).
Without morcellation using equipment manufactured by Intuitive Surgical, robotic hysterectomies would, likely, not be possible using the DaVinci Robot. It is noteworthy that the DaVinci robot does not appear to have a readily available warning label advising against its use to morcellate tumors with malignant potential inside the body. The company's Chief Medical Advisor, Dr. Myriam Curet, a surgeon herself, has been informed and advised of this severe hazard in the use of DaVinci for robotic hysterectomy and the absence of a readily available warning label.