Cancer patients, families want FDA to block fibroid removal technique that can spread cancer

More than a dozen members of the public — including cancer patients, their family members and physicians — are calling on federal health regulators to block the use of electronic surgical tools which can inadvertently spread cancer throughout the body.

An expert panel of Food and Drug Administration advisers on Friday heard impassioned pleas from women with cancer and family members of deceased patients who said they were unaware of the cancer risks of the popular technique for treating fibroids.

The FDA has convened a two-day meeting to review the risks of power morcellator devices. Surgeons use the tools to grind and shred uterine tissue so it can be removed through a small incision in the abdomen, instead of a larger opening for traditional surgery.