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How Endometrial Cancer Is Diagnosed

How Endometrial Cancer Is Diagnosed

A condition known as endometrial cancer occurs when abnormal (cancer) cells develop in the endometrial tissues. Endometrial cancer often only describes cancer cells that originate and spread throughout the cells lining the uterine cavity, or the upper portion of the uterus. Cancer cells that start in the cervix, the lower part of the uterus, give rise to a specific type of cancer called cervical cancer. This article provides information about endometrial cancer symptoms and diagnosis.

Symptoms of endometrial cancer

Vaginal bleeding after menopause

Bleeding between periods

Pelvic pain

Watery vaginal discharge, unexplained weight loss, trouble urinating, abdominal pain, and pain during intercourse are other symptoms. However, some women have no symptoms at all.

Doctors use the following tests and procedures to diagnose endometrial cancer:

Examining the pelvis– During a pelvic exam, the doctor examines the reproductive organs.

Imaging tests– Imaging tests produce images of the inside organs. They can provide the location and size of your cancer to your healthcare team. Your healthcare team can utilize ultrasonography to look for signs of cancer and rule out other potential causes of your symptoms.

Pap smear– A Pap smear may occasionally reveal anomalies in the endometrium, but it does not screen for endometrial cancer. A Pap smear is a cervical cancer screening procedure that involves taking a sample of cervical cells.

Hysteroscopy– During a hysteroscopy, the physician passes a thin, flexible, lighted tube through the cervix and vagina to the uterus. Using a hysteroscope lens, a physician may examine the endometrium and the uterus inside.

Endometrial biopsy– During an endometrial biopsy, the doctor takes a sample of tissue from the uterus. Following that, a lab analyses the sample to determine whether it is cancerous.

Dilation and curettage (D&C)- A D&C is required if there is insufficient tissue provided by the endometrial biopsy sample, or if the biopsy indicates malignancy, but the results are uncertain.

The cervix is opened (dilated) during this outpatient procedure, and tissue from the uterus is scraped out using a specialized tool.

This treatment takes around one hour, and it may require general anesthesia, or conscious sedation with local anesthetic administered into the cervix or a spinal (or epidural) anesthetic. Most women who have this surgery experience minimal discomfort.

Following a cancer diagnosis, your healthcare team will try to identify the stage, or the extent of the malignancy. Tests such as a chest X-ray, CT scan, blood tests, and positron emission tomography, or PET scan, may be performed to determine the stage of your cancer.

The endometrial cancer stages are as follows:

Stage I indicates uterine cancer limited to the lining and/or muscular layer.

In Stage II, the cancer has progressed to the stroma where the uterus and cervix meet, or to cervical tissue within the uterus (but not outside of it).

Stage III denotes the growth and dissemination of the tumor outside the uterus and cervix, but not inside the pelvis. This stage may involve metastasis to the fallopian tubes, ovaries, vagina, lymph nodes in the pelvis or around the aorta, and surrounding and connective tissues.

Stage IV signifies that the cancer has progressed to other areas of the body, including the belly, intestine, and/or groin, in addition to the uterine region and pelvic organs. In certain situations, the disease may have progressed to the bones, lungs, or liver.

Treatment

Physicians base their treatment approach for endometrial cancer on several variables, such as the Type and stage of cancer, medical history, imaging studies, overall health, decisions, and preferences.

Conclusion

There is no standard screening test to identify endometrial cancer, so you must maintain regular gynecology evaluations and notify your doctor at the first sign of changes or symptoms including bleeding that is abnormal, spotting, or discharge during or after menopause.

Ankura Hospital
Author: Ankura Hospital

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