How is uterine cancer diagnosed?
If a woman has any of the symptoms of uterine cancer described above, she should visit her doctor. The doctor will ask her about her symptoms, risk factors, and family medical history. The doctor will also perform a general physical exam and an exam of the pelvis.
These are some of the procedures that might be used in diagnosing uterine cancer:
- Endometrial biopsy: During this procedure, a sample of endometrial tissue is obtained through a very thin flexible tube inserted into the uterus through the cervix. The tube removes a small amount of the endometrium using suction.
- Transvaginal ultrasound or sonography: A transvaginal sonogram uses sound waves to create pictures of the uterus.
- Dilation and curettage (D & C): This procedure is done in the operating room. A special surgical instrument is used to scrape tissue from inside the uterus. Increasingly, in-office hysteroscopy is used to evaluate the endometrium.
- Testing of endometrial tissue: Endometrial tissue samples removed by biopsy or D & C are examined under the microscope to determine whether cancer is present.
- CT or CAT scan (also called computed tomography, computerized tomography, or computerized axial tomography): This is a scan that involves taking a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. The pictures are created by a computer linked to an X-ray machine.
- MRI (also called magnetic resonance imaging): This is a procedure in which radio waves and a powerful magnet linked to a computer are used to create detailed pictures of areas inside the body.
- CA-125 assay: This blood test can measure the level of CA-125, a substance that is sometimes found in an increased amount in the blood, other body fluids, or tissues. A particular level of CA-125 might suggest the presence of some types of cancer.