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Endometrial (Uterine) Cancer - Exams and Tests

Tests to find cancer

To check your symptoms, your doctor will ask about your medical history and do a physical exam. This will include a pelvic exam.

An endometrial biopsy is needed to confirm a diagnosis of endometrial cancer. A biopsy removes a small sample of the lining of the uterus (endometrium) to be looked at under a microscope.

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Other tests may include:

  • A transvaginal pelvic ultrasound. This uses sound waves to create images of the uterus. The images can show how thick the endometrium is. A thick endometrium can be a sign of cancer in postmenopausal women. Ultrasound also can help show whether cancer has grown into the uterine muscle.
  • A hysteroscopy. This allows your doctor to view the inside of the uterus and get an endometrial tissue sample.
  • Dilation and curettage (D&C). This test is done to get a sample of tissue from the inside of the uterus. It may be done at the same time as a hysteroscopy.

Testing for endometrial cancer may show that you have endometrial hyperplasia. This is not cancer but may develop into cancer. One type of hyperplasia, atypical adenomatous hyperplasia, progresses to cancer in about 1 out of 3 women.2

Tests to see if the cancer has spread

If cancer is found, surgery is done to find out how much the cancer has grown (stage and grade) and to treat it at the same time.

Before surgery, an imaging test may be done to see if cancer has spread to the abdomen and pelvis. This helps with planning for treatment. Imaging tests may include a CT scan or an MRI.

Other tests done before surgery may include:

Early detection

There is no routine screening test for endometrial cancer. The American Cancer Society advises women who are nearing menopause to learn about the risks and symptoms of endometrial cancer.3

  • Women are advised to report to their doctors any unexpected bleeding or spotting or unusual vaginal discharge.
  • Women at risk for Lynch syndrome are advised to get checked every year starting at age 35. Having this risk also means a high risk of getting ovarian and/or uterine cancer.

High-risk women who have no pregnancy plans can avoid these cancers by having the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries removed.4

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 08, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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