Women's Health

Doctor who helped curb hysterectomy procedure says cancer is back


SONY DSC  (KD Photography & Design)

A doctor whose personal battle with uterine cancer helped sharply curtail a common surgical tool that can spread malignancy said Wednesday that her own aggressive cancer has returned.

Amy Reed, a 41-year-old mother of six, lived for more than a year after her 2013 diagnosis and treatment with no sign of cancer. But a new tumor that was recently discovered and removed was found to be cancerous, she learned last week.

Dr. Reed said she had been preparing herself for the prospect of metastatic cancer and felt somewhat fortunate that the new tumor was removed completely. She will now undergo radiation. She said she and her husband, cardiothoracic surgeon Hooman Noorchashm, also plan to begin working in the lab to see how she might live with the disease as a chronic illness. Both have doctorate degrees in immunology.

“If you look at the [survival] numbers, it’s very scary and very easy to get sucked up into that. But I’m hoping our aggressive approach will buy us some time,” Dr. Reed said.

Dr. Reed was a practicing anesthesiologist in Boston when she had a minimally invasive hysterectomy in October 2013 to treat what her doctors presumed were benign growths called fibroids. Instead, she had a dangerous form of uterine cancer called leiomyosarcoma, which can’t be reliably detected before surgery. The tool used during her operation, the power morcellator, spread her disease and worsened her prognosis, the hospital where she had the procedure acknowledged.

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