A woman from Oregon has filed a $1.8 million lawsuit against medical professionals over 'unnecessary mastectomy and hysterectomy.' Elisha Cooke-Moore's lawsuit claims she was misled by medical professionals who told her she was carrying genes that could cause cancer and that she needed to undergo surgery.
Elisha Cooke-Moore's Genetic Test Results
Elisha Cooke-Moore, a 36-year-old woman from southern Oregon, claims that her gynecologist, Dr. William Fitts, told her she had the "MLH1 gene mutation and Lynch syndrome," which means she had a higher risk of developing certain types of cancer.
Dr. William Fitts said her genetic test results showed she specifically had a 50 percent chance of developing breast cancer and an 80 percent chance of developing uterine cancer.
According to Cooke-Moore's lawsuit, the defendants were listed as Curry Medical Practice and Curry Medical Center. The lawsuit also mentions Jessica Carlson and Lori Johns.
Lori Johns, Cooke-Moore's nurse, was responsible for misreading the test results and recommending a mastectomy. On the other hand, surgeon Jessica Carlson was listed in the suit for failing to review Cooke-Moore's results, which could have prevented the error.
Cooke-Moore said she did not find out about the mistake only until she began reading her medical file where she stumbled upon her results, according to The Oregonian/OregonLive. "Quite frankly, we are stumped to why they would make this mistake," said Cauble.
Mastectomy And Hysterectomy
Mastectomy involves the surgical removal of the entire breast in order to prevent any possibility of breast cancer occuring. Hysterectomy, on the other hand, is the surgical removal of the uterus and can either be total or partial depending on the condition. In 2003, it is said that over 600,000 hysterectomy surgeries were performed in the United States alone.
The Genetics Of Cancer
The genes people are born with may contribute to the risk of developing certain types of cancer, including ovarian, colorectal, prostrate and breast cancer. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, about half of all cases of Lynch syndrome are associated with the inherited mutations in the MLH1 gene.
Some mutations in the gene can cause a variant of Lynch syndrome, known as Turcot syndrome, which could cause people to develop glioblastoma — a particular type of brain tumor. Another variant, called Muir-Torre syndrome, could cause people to have a higher chance of getting uncommon skin tumors.
Lynch syndrome has also been known as hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC). Doctors say an early diagnosis of Lynch syndrome presents an opportunity to take preventive actions that can reduce the risk of developing cancer. Preventive measures include screening tests and preventive surgery.