How common is ovarian cancer?

Posted by in Medical Product Issues on Mar 9, 2016

Ovarian cancer is a potentially deadly form of the disease.  In fact, according to Williams Kherkher, in the United States, ovarian cancer is considered the fifth most fatal cancer among women and the most fatal cancer related to the reproductive system.  Unfortunately, the risk of developing this deadly cancer is often increased when a woman undergoes a hysterectomy or a myomectomy using a power morcellator.  Power morcellators are drill-like devices that work by mincing up fibroids and other noncancerous tissue into smaller pieces that are removed through a small incision in the abdomen.  However, these devices could also spread cancerous cells into other areas of the body, potentially leading to the development of ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer can be particularly hard to diagnose as the early symptoms can be nearly impossible to detect.  According to the American Cancer Society, there are some recognizable symptoms that can develop later on including pain in the abdomen or pelvis, bloating, and weight loss. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, especially if you are over 60, you should consult with your doctor immediately.

Power morcellators have been known to cause the development of other potentially deadly cancers in addition to ovarian cancer.  These cancers include metastatic leiomyosarcoma, uterine cancer, uterine sarcoma, and endometrial stromal sarcoma.  These dangers lead not only Johnson & Johnson, the makers of the morcellators, to recall the device, but for the FDA to issue a “black box” warning—meaning that the potential benefits of the morcellators were far outweighed by the threats.  Unfortunately, these warnings came too late for many women who developed cancer from the procedures.

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