Is it Time to Rethink Minimally Invasive Surgery for Cervical Cancer?
We all know people who have been affected by cancer. Treatments, ranging from chemotherapy to radiation, to surgery, have their fair share of side effects that can make cancer especially burdensome. When someone finds a way to treat cancer with minimal side effects, it is no surprise that patients and doctors might quickly endorse such treatment.
Unfortunately, “easy” fixes are not always the best kind. In recent years, surgeons have found ways to perform procedures that are not as invasive as traditional surgeries. Robotic arms and tools are used in such procedures to enter the body through small incisions to remove tumors, growths, and organs without exposing large sections of the body.
In many areas of medicine, this type of surgery has been a blessing, but minimally invasive surgery (MIS) has had its share of critics and has evoked concerns. In 2000 when the Food and Drug Administration gave premarket certification to the Intuitive Surgical Da Vinci robotic system, there was concern about its efficacy in the treatment of cancer.
Canadian Researchers Find MIS Increases Risk of Death for Some Cervical Cancer Patients When Compared with Traditional Surgery
Canadian researchers have published some bad news for cervical cancer patients treated with MIS. The study published online July 6, 2019, in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology echoes the findings of two previously published studies.
Researchers reviewed nearly 1000 patients who had early-stage cervical cancer. They found that those who underwent MIS had twice the rate of death and cancer reoccurrence than those who had radical hysterectomies.
These studies “have shown rather convincingly — and I would say definitively — that these minimally invasive procedures should not be performed, except under perhaps extraordinary circumstances where there is a serious risk for the patient associated with the standard approach,” said Maurie Markman, MD, from Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Philadelphia.
What are the Alleged Benefits of MIS?
Because MIS is done robotically, it requires only small incisions. Small incisions mean less pain, fewer complications, a shorter stay in the hospital, and a faster recovery for patients.
This approach, according to critics of MIS, benefits hospitals and insurance companies as much as the patients. According to the most recent research; however, cervical cancer patients are suffering.
Despite the controversy over MIS, its use in the treatment of cervical cancer is approximately 50% Data shows that in Ontario, MIS climbed from nearly 5% “of all hysterectomies in 2006 to 65% in 2017.”
Cause for Concern over Using MIS to Treat Cervical Cancer
The Food and Drug Administration, along with physicians, are expressing concern that MIS should not be the first line of treatment for cervical cancer surgery. Amanda Fader, MD, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, states that although MIS might benefit some specific subgroups of patients, surgeons should “proceed with caution and to counsel their patients about these findings so that women are aware that there is a higher risk of recurrence with minimally invasive surgery than with open radical hysterectomy.”
Contact Our MIS Lawyers Today
Contact our MIS lawyers for help if you have concerns about the treatment you received for your cervical cancer. You can reach Alonso Krangle, LLP at 800-403-6191. Call today!