In my fourth book,, I wrote that I wrote my book to give women a voice. This is another dimension, giving women who were subjected to a procedure without knowing the full facts.
In 1979, at 24, I underwent a operation to remove a cyst in my breast. I was not counseled what the procedure was and what the implication was. All I was told was it is just a cyst. At the ward, prior to the op, old women came to hug me. Eight years later, I was to have another identical surgery. Then I was given a full explanation and counseling. How different it was. I wrote about these two experience in my book: Diary of a bereaved woman.
What we want is information. Our body is ours. Not a body part for doctors to carry out as an experience, to try out their tool.
Each year, 600,000 women in the US will undergo hysterectomies. This makes it the most common non-pregnancy related surgery for women. By the age of 60, one in three women will have undergone a hysterectomy. Unfortunately, just because a surgery is common doesn't make it safe, or even recommended. Women whose doctors use a 'Power Morcellator' when performing hysterectomies may be putting their health at risk without realizing the implications of the procedure.
The power morcellator is used to cut fibroids into small pieces so they can be removed from the body easily. However, these morcellators, which consist of small, spinning blades, can spread undetected cancer through the pelvic and abdominal cavity of affected women. Once cancer is spread through morcellation, the average woman will die within 24 to 36 months.
The problem with using a power morcellator during hysterectomies is there is no way to diagnose that the patient is cancer free before performing the operation. Using a power morcellator to destroy the fibroids will seed cancer throughout the abdominal region if the patient has early, undiagnosed cancer. Rather than treating a sarcoma confined to the uterus, the doctor is faced with treating cancer that has spread throughout the abdominal cavity, and is not one, but multiple, tumors.
According to a recent assessment by the FDA, about one in 350 women who undergo a hysterectomy for the treatment of fibroids may have an undetected cancer. One of these types of cancer is leiomyosarcoma (LMS), which is an aggressive form of uterine sarcoma with a particularly poor prognosis.
On July 10th and 11th, the FDA met to discuss the dangers of morcellation and to formulate a recommendation on the use of morcellation during hysterectomies. While awaiting their decision, it is our priority to raise awareness about this procedure. Our hope is to put a stop to the use of morcellators during hysterectomies. We firmly believe this will stop many cancer deaths.