Diagnosis of Uterine Cancer
Women with uterine cancer may experience the following symptoms or signs. The most likely time for uterine cancer to occur is after menopause. The most common symptom is abnormal vaginal bleeding, ranging from a watery and blood-streaked flow to a flow that contains more blood. Other symptoms are:
- Unusual vaginal bleeding, spotting, or discharge
- Difficulty or pain when urinating
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Pain in the pelvic area
Sometimes, women with uterine cancer do not show any symptoms. Or, these symptoms may be caused by a medical condition that is not cancer.
If the symptoms suggest the possibility of uterine cancer, following test may be carried out for diagnosis:
- Pelvic exam: Your doctor can check your uterus, vagina, and nearby tissues for any lumps or changes in shape or size.
- Ultrasound: An ultrasound device uses sound waves that can’t be heard by humans. The sound waves make a pattern of echoes as they bounce off organs inside the pelvis. The echoes create a picture of the uterus and nearby tissues. The picture can show a uterine tumor. For a better view of the uterus, the device may be inserted into the vagina (transvaginal ultrasound).
- Biopsy: The removal of tissue to look for cancer cells is a biopsy. A thin tube is inserted through the vagina into your uterus. Your doctor uses gentle scraping and suction to remove samples of tissue. A pathologist examines the tissue under a microscope to check for cancer cells. In most cases, a biopsy is the only sure way to tell whether cancer is present.
Grade of the Tumor
If cancer is found, the pathologist studies tissue samples from the uterus under a microscope to learn the grade of the tumor. The grade tells how much the tumor tissue differs from normal uterine tissue. It may suggest how fast the tumor is likely to grow. Tumors with higher grades tend to grow faster than those with lower grades. Tumors with higher grades are also more likely to spread. Doctors use tumor grade along with other factors to suggest treatment options.
Read more: Uterine Cancer Stages & Treatment