Study raises hysterectomy questions

Results of a landmark study led by a doctor at John Wayne Cancer Institute at Saint John's Health Center (Santa Monica, California) raise serious questions about the long-term survival benefits of removing a woman's ovaries during routine hysterectomy. The study, appearing in the May issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology, compared women with benign (noncancerous) reproductive disease who were given a hysterectomy, with either bilateral oophorectomy (removing both ovaries) or ovarian conservation (leaving the ovaries intact).

After adjusting for multiple independent risk factors, the researchers found several trends: Removing both ovaries was indeed associated with a markedly lower risk of ovarian cancer, as well as a reduced risk of breast cancer and cancer overall. However, women with oophorectomy had a significantly higher risk of CHD, stroke and lung cancer.

ASDS offers skin self exam on Facebook site

In recognition of Skin Cancer Awareness Month and the increasing incidence of skin cancer in the U.S., the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS; Rolling Meadows, Illinois) has created a free Skin Self Exam (SSE) kit available on the Society's Facebook site. The kit and site were created to educate younger audiences about the potential dangers of skin cancer and the importance of early detection methods.

The ASDS' SSE kit includes instructions on how to properly monitor and measure suspicious moles and other lesions, as well as statistics and background information about skin cancer, instructions for completing a thorough self-skin exam, and examples of what to look for when monitoring moles and freckles for the ABCDE's of melanoma: asymmetry, border irregularity, color variation, diameter, and evolving (changes to a mole's size or coloring).

PLUS Diagnostics expands to California

PLUS Diagnostics (Lakewood, New Jersey) said that it is continuing its national expansion with the opening of a West Coast laboratory in Orange County, California. The company also reported plans to move into a new laboratory in Union, New Jersey, to triple its overall lab capacity.

It will offer specialized diagnostic testing and consultative services for the gastroenterology and urology markets from its new facilities, with plans to expand into the hematology/oncology specialties later this year.

"Our new laboratories are the next important step in our strategic plan to become the nation's leading multi-specialty anatomic pathology laboratory," said CEO Doug Berg.

VIVA predicts less-invasive fibroid procedures

Women with painful uterine fibroids are more likely to opt for a minimally invasive procedure over hysterectomy in the months ahead. That's the prediction of Virginia Interventional and Vascular Associates (VIVA; Fredericksburg, Virginia) doctors following a bulletin on uterine artery embolization by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG; Washington).

Donald Doherty Jr., MD, of VIVA, a group of interventional radiologists, says their practice has performed uterine artery embolizations since 2001. The procedure, also known as uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), is offered primarily by interventional radiologists. Interventional radiologists apply their skills in reading medical images and performing minimally invasive procedures to diagnose and treat a variety of conditions.

"We applaud the ACOG for recognizing UFE as an effective alternative," said Doherty. "Many women have suffered from fibroids and have avoided surgical treatment because they are concerned about downtime from work, loss of income and other issues. The ACOG bulletin has opened the way for women to discuss with their OB-GYNs the treatment options that are available to them."

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