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UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center

Tests to evaluate uterine cancer include:

  • Pelvic exam: A woman has a pelvic exam to check the vagina, uterus, bladder and rectum. The doctor feels these organs for any lumps or changes in their shape or size. To see the upper part of the vagina and the cervix, the doctor inserts an instrument called a speculum into the vagina.
  • Pap test: The doctor collects cells from the cervix and upper vagina. A medical laboratory checks for abnormal cells. Although the Pap test can detect cancer of the cervix, cells from inside the uterus usually do not show up on a Pap test. This is why the doctor collects samples of cells from inside the uterus in a procedure called a biopsy.
  • Transvaginal ultrasound: The doctor inserts an instrument into the vagina. The instrument aims high-frequency sound waves at the uterus. The pattern of the echoes they produce creates a picture. If the endometrium looks too thick, the doctor can do a biopsy.
  • Biopsy: The doctor removes a sample of tissue from the uterine lining. This usually can be done in the doctor’s office.
  • Dilation and curettage (D and C): If enough tissue cannot be obtained during a biopsy or if the biopsy suggests cancer, you’ll likely need to undergo a D and C. In this procedure, which requires you to be in an operating room under anesthesia, tissue is scraped from the lining of your inner uterus and examined under a microscope for cancer cells.
Last updated: 5/26/2010 3:10:56 PM