ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture Eases Breast Cancer Treatment Side Effects
Fish Oil's Benefits Remain Elusive
Cranberries May Help Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
Studies Struggle to Gauge Glucosamine's Worth
Majority of College Students Report Backpack-Related Pain
CANCER
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
CAREGIVING
What Moms Learned May Be Passed to Offspring
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
Baby's Sleep Position May Not Affect Severity of Head Flattening
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
COSMETIC
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Holistic Dentistry-My View
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
DIABETES
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
Exercise Protects Black Women From Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Polyunsaturated Fats Really May Lower Heart Risk
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Vitamin D Deficit May Trigger MS Risk Gene
Main Ingredients in Household Dust Come From Outdoors
Population-Based Strategy Urged to Cut U.S. Obesity Rate
EYE CARE, VISION
Music Can Help Restore Stroke Patients' Sight
Certain Diabetes Drugs May Pose Eye Risk
Eye Problems, Hearing Loss May Be Linked
FITNESS
After a Stroke, Light Exercise Gets Hands, Arms Working Again
Weak Muscles May Cause 'Runner's Knee'
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
For Women, Moderate Midlife Drinking Linked to Healthier Old Age
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
Coffee Cuts Liver Scarring in Hepatitis C
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
B-Vitamins Help Protect Against Stroke, Heart Disease
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
3 Home Habits Help Youngsters Stay Slim
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Treat Kids to a Safe Halloween
MEN'S HEALTH
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
SENIORS
Martial Arts Training May Save Seniors' Hips
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Simple Carbs Pose Heart Risk for Women
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
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Method for Treating Cervical Lesions May Pose Pregnancy Risks

FRIDAY, June 6 (HealthDay News) -- A popular type of surgery for removing abnormal cells from the cervix -- a problem that could lead to cervical cancer if left untreated -- may put women at risk of pregnancy complications.

Women who had this procedure, known as loop electrosurgical excision procedure, or LEEP, were at greater risk of delivering preterm babies or having a low-birth-weight infant, according to British researchers.

Doctors should use caution in treating young women with mild cervical abnormalities or precancerous cells, the study authors concluded in a paper published recently in the medical journal The Lancet.

"Women should seek detailed information on efficacy but also on long-term pregnancy-related morbidity before they consent," lead study author Dr. Maria Kyrgiou of Central Lancashire Teaching Hospitals in Preston, Great Britain, told HealthDay.

LEEP is one of several surgical techniques for removing abnormal or precancerous cells from the cervix.

After numbing the cervix with local anesthesia, an electrically charged wire loop is inserted through the vagina, explains the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The loop, acting as a scalpel, cuts away a thin layer of tissue, removing the abnormal cells.

Other methods, including cold knife conization, laser ablation and laser conization, also remove or destroy suspect tissue while preserving cervical function, the British researchers noted. But the effect of these various treatments on future fertility and pregnancies has been unclear.

To assess the potential impact, Kyrgiou and her colleagues analyzed data from 27 previous studies.

Cold knife conization, which involves the excision of a cone-shaped piece of tissue, increased the likelihood of preterm birth and delivering a low-birth-weight infant by two-and-a-half times, and tripled the risk for Caesarean section, compared with women who did not have this procedure.

LEEP increased the risk of preterm delivery and delivering a low-birth-weight infant by 70 percent and 82 percent, respectively. It nearly tripled the likelihood of premature rupturing of the cervical membranes, the study authors found.

Laser conization, where a laser is used to cut away tissue, had similar outcomes, but the findings were not statistically significant.

Laser ablation, or using a laser to destroy abnormal tissue, was the only method that didn't increase pregnancy complications, the study authors said.

But at least two women's health experts cautioned about drawing conclusions from a study that involved pooling of data from multiple retrospective studies. And one warned about comparing obstetrical results among procedures used to treat different types of lesions, or tissue abnormalities.

"The appropriate study that would answer the question would be to compare LEEP and laser used for the same kind of lesion and the same size lesion done all at one institution," said Dr. Annekathryn Goodman, associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School.

That said, Goodman underscored the importance of tailoring the treatment to the type of lesion: "So, small lesions only need small procedures, and larger lesions need big procedures." And, she added, "If the wrong treatment is done, and the lesion is not completely removed, the woman is at high risk for developing a cancer."

In her view, LEEP should be limited to treating women with high-grade precancerous lesions.

Dr. Carolyn D. Runowicz, director of the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Connecticut Health Center, agreed that LEEP is needed to treat women with significant lesions to prevent an invasive cervical cancer. Women should also get a second opinion before undergoing a procedure, she said.

But the larger message, according to Runowicz, is for patients to prevent these lesions by getting regular screenings for cervical cancer.

And with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's 2006 approval of Gardasil, a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer, woman have a powerful weapon against lesions caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).

"HPV vaccine is the answer," agreed Dr. Joan L. Walker, chief of gynecologic oncology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

-Karen Pallarito

More information

For more on LEEP, visit the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.



SOURCES: Annekathryn Goodman, M.D., associate professor, obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Carolyn D. Runowicz, M.D., director, Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington; Joan L. Walker, M.D., chief, gynecologic oncology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City; American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Washington, D.C.; U.S. Food and Drug Administration press release; The Lancet

Last Updated: June 06, 2008

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