Symptoms & Diagnosis
Wilmot Cancer Institute provides the full spectrum of uterine and endometrial cancer care, from initial diagnosis and treatment to recovery and rehabilitation.
We work in multidisciplinary teams. Multidisciplinary means that our care providers are experts with a variety of specialties: gynecological oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, nurse practitioners, social workers, and clinical researchers. They work together on your case to provide the most personalized care possible.
Uterine cancer symptoms
Getting an accurate diagnosis is essential to getting the best treatment. The vast majority of women who have endometrial cancer start out with abnormal vaginal bleeding, defined as either a change in periods, bleeding after menopause, or abnormal vaginal discharge. Other symptoms include pain in the pelvis or feeling a lump, and losing weight without trying.
How is uterine cancer diagnosed?
Medical history and physical examination: This includes a complete medical history and assessment of risk factors and symptoms. The physical exam will include a pelvic examination, which involves checking the vagina, cervix and uterus for signs of disease.
Ultrasound: This test uses sounds waves to take pictures of internal body structures. A pelvic ultrasound involves placing a transducer on the skin of the lower abdomen after a woman has taken in enough liquids to have a full bladder. A transvaginal ultrasound is preferred for looking at the uterus. For this test, the transducer is inserted into the vagina.
Endometrial biopsy: This is the most common test and it’s accurate in diagnosing cancer in postmenopausal women. A doctor inserts a thin, flexible tube into the uterus and removes a tissue sample, which is then evaluated by a pathologist.
Hysteroscopy: This test is similar to an endometrial biopsy but it involves inserting a tiny telescope into the uterus so that the doctor can get a better view. This is often done while the patient is awake but under local anesthesia.
Dilation and curettage (D&C): A doctor enlarges the opening of the cervix and uses a special instrument to scape tissue from several spots inside the uterus. This procedure may require a general anesthesia but is done as an outpatient surgery. This test is necessary if the biopsy sample doesn’t provide enough tissue or of the pathology test results are uncertain.
Imaging: CT scans, MRIs, PET scans, or cystoscopy (a lighted tube is placed into the bladder), are used if doctors suspect the cancer has spread.