Endometrial Cancer

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Diagnosis

If you have signs or symptoms that could be from endometrial cancer (or another problem with your reproductive organs), your doctor will probably start by doing a general physical exam and then a pelvic exam.

To diagnose endometrial cancer, doctors have to remove a small sample of tissue from your endometrium and look at the cells under a microscope.

Endometrial Biopsy

The most common and most accurate way to diagnose endometrial cancer is with an endometrial biopsy. The doctor inserts a thin, flexible, straw-like tube into your uterus through your cervix and scrapes or suctions out a small amount of endometrium. A pathologist examines the tissue samples. Seattle Cancer Care Alliance has a dedicated pathologist who specializes in the diagnosis of gynecologic cancers.

Dilation and Curettage

Less often, women need dilation and curettage (D&C). A narrow instrument called a dilator is inserted into your cervix to open it. Next the doctor uses a spoon-like tool called a curette to scrape some tissue from inside your uterus. The most common reason a woman might need a D&C instead of an endometrial biopsy is because she has cervical stenosis—the passageway through her cervix is too narrow to do a biopsy or it’s completely closed.

Imaging Studies

The only way to tell whether you have endometrial cancer is to examine samples of tissue. In certain situation, your doctor may also want you to have imaging studies to get more information, such as whether your cancer has spread. These might include an X-ray, ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) scan, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan.

References

American Cancer Society
National Cancer Institute
National Comprehensive Cancer Network