Cervical cancer surgeries under scrutiny

(NBC News) — Two new studies find women battling cervical cancer who had minimally invasive hysterectomies, like keyhole or robotic surgery, were more likely to have their cancer come back and kill them than if they had more invasive open surgery.

Doctors are not sure why.

It could be that some of the cancer is left behind in minimally invasive procedures, or that the instruments used might spread tumor cells.

The results were startling and strong enough to change practice in at least one major cancer center, MD Anderson in Texas.

“This is high level evidence that we should not continue to perform minimally invasive surgery,” Dr. Pedro Ramirez says.

The American Cancer Society estimates 13,000 new cases of cervical cancer will be diagnosed this year, and 4,000 women will die of the disease.

Researchers say this applies only to cervical cancer surgery, and minimally invasive surgery can still be a good option for other types of cancers.

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