Three years ago, George and Brenda Leuzzi felt like they were on top of the world. They had bought a house, were raising a daughter, and were “in a good place,” George recalls. “We were looking to get on with the next chapter in our lives. We considered ourselves very blessed.” The family never expected the next chapter to involve a losing battle with cancer.
Brenda had undergone a procedure using a power morcellator, a surgical tool that grinds away uterine growths and, in some cases, entire uteruses. The tool allow surgeons to perform these procedures less invasively, which allows for faster recovery. But shortly after undergoing treatment with the power morcellator, Brenda learned that the tissue removed during surgery was discovered to be cancerous.
“She fought like nobody else I’ve ever seen fight,” George says of his wife. Last week, Brenda lost her two-year battle with uterine cancer, just six months after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a safety announcement discouraging use of power morcellators because they could spread undetected uterine cancer and worsen the odds of survival.
“If she had any choice in this matter, she’d be alive today,” George says. “She fought that hard. But unfortunately the cancer just took too much out of her.”
The FDA has yet to ban the surgical tool. Instead, the agency recommended that doctors make their patients aware of the risks associated with power morcellators before the procedures are performed. The agency also advised doctors to follow up with patients on whom they have performed laparoscopic power morcellation procedures even if the patients do not have symptoms and were told following surgery that tests were normal.
Women who have undergone a procedure using power morcellator who have persistent or recurrent symptoms of uterine cancer – such as unusual bleeding or discharge, pelvic pain or pelvic mass – are advised to consult with their doctors.
Since the FDA’s announcement, Johnson & Johnson, maker of widely used power morcellators, announced it was suspending sales of all its morcellator products. A growing number of lawsuits are being filed against manufacturers of power morcellators alleging the companies failed to adequately warn women of the risks of cancer spread associated with the surgical tools.
Source: Democrat & Cronicle