Endometrial (Uterine) Cancer Screening & Testing
Unfortunately, there are no reliable ways to screen (detect before symptoms are present) for endometrial cancer. However, there are diagnostic tests available to determine the cause of symptoms or to check for the presence of uterine cancer in a person who does not have symptoms but is considered high-risk for the disease. Since screening isn’t available, it’s important to be aware of the causes, risk factors and symptoms of endometrial cancer so you can seek testing if necessary. Moffitt Cancer Center offers comprehensive testing as well as cutting-edge treatment for those who are diagnosed with uterine cancer.
When to seek endometrial cancer testing
Since routine uterine cancer screening protocols are still in development, it’s essential to be aware for potential signs of the malignancy. Abnormal vaginal bleeding is the primary symptom of endometrial cancer. Women are encouraged to promptly consult a healthcare professional if they experience vaginal bleeding between menstrual periods, post-menopausal bleeding or unusually heavy menstrual bleeding. Other symptoms may include irregular vaginal discharge, pain urinating, unexplained weight loss, anemia and pelvic pain. Timely attention to these symptoms can ease early detection and lead to more favorable outcomes.
Diagnostic testing for endometrial cancer
There are several different methods of testing for endometrial cancer. Depending on your symptoms, the Moffitt team may recommend one or more of the following tests:
- Pelvic examination – A pelvic exam includes a comprehensive evaluation of the pelvic organs, including the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder and rectum. While primarily designed to identify advanced uterine cancer, this examination can occasionally reveal other significant findings that warrant further investigation.
- Pap test/smear – Known primarily as a method of cervical cancer screening, the Pap test involves collecting cervical cell samples for laboratory analysis. Although not exclusively meant for uterine cancer detection, it can provide insights into the endometrial lining, potentially leading to further diagnostic steps if abnormalities are detected.
- Ultrasound – Employing sound waves to create internal images of the body, ultrasound is a valuable tool for examining the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes. Transvaginal ultrasound (TVUS) offers enhanced visualization of the uterus and can detect abnormalities such as a thickened endometrial lining or masses.
- Endometrial tissue sampling – Precise diagnosis often requires tissue analysis. Endometrial biopsy, dilation and curettage (D&C) and hysteroscopy are techniques used to obtain tissue samples from the uterus for thorough examination. These procedures, performed by skilled gynecologists, provide essential insights into the presence and nature of endometrial changes.
- Genetic and protein testing – In cases where hereditary factors are suspected, testing for specific genetic and protein changes in cancer cells can provide valuable insights. This information aids in tailoring individualized treatment plans, especially for advanced endometrial cancer.
Testing for metastasis of endometrial cancer
In some cases, endometrial cancer may have already spread to other parts of the body by the time it’s detected. To check for this, your doctor may recommend additional testing such as:
- Chest X-rays
- Computed tomography (CT)
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Positron emission tomography (PET)
Endometrial cancer FAQs
These FAQs can shed additional light on endometrial cancer testing:
- When to see a gynecologic oncologist
- When should I see a uterine cancer specialist?
- How often should you be screened for endometrial cancer?
- What can I expect after an endometrial biopsy?
- What is the best way to detect endometrial cancer?
Turn to Moffitt Cancer Center for comprehensive uterine cancer testing
Moffitt Cancer Center offers excellence in cancer care, with a dedicated focus on women's health. Our gynecological clinic embodies a multispecialty approach, ensuring that each patient benefits from a diverse range of expertise. Our commitment to providing comprehensive treatment and world-class care in a centralized location sets us apart. We take pride in the distinction of treating more gynecologic and breast cancer patients than any other hospital in the state, reflecting our unwavering commitment to women's well-being. To schedule an appointment for uterine cancer testing, call 1-888-663-3488 or complete our online new patient registration form.