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Uterine Cancer and Endometrial Cancer Screening and Diagnosis

Doctor consulting with patient

Gynecologic cancer specialists at Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center have a wealth of experience in diagnosing uterine and endometrial cancers.

Screening for uterine cancer, endometrial cancer and uterine sarcoma

There are currently no standard screening tests for uterine cancer, endometrial cancer, or uterine sarcoma. However, if you are at higher risk for uterine cancer, or are experiencing any signs of uterine cancer, such as irregular menstrual bleeding or a genetic condition associated with uterine cancer, talk to a gynecologist about any tests or examinations you may need.

A gynecologist or Penn Medicine gynecologic cancer specialist may use the following tests to look for uterine cancer:

  • Pelvic exam. An internal examination of the vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and rectum. A doctor will insert a gloved hand or speculum into the vagina and press on the outside of the abdomen.
  • Transvaginal ultrasound. A doctor or ultrasound technician will examine internal organs by inserting a wand-like ultrasound probe into the vagina.
  • Endometrial biopsy or dilation and curettage (D&C). A procedure in which small instruments are used to remove tissue from inside the uterus. Medication may be used to dilate (open) the cervix.

Uterine cancer and endometrial cancer diagnosis

A biopsy (an examination of a tissue sample) must be performed to diagnose uterine cancer. The results of the biopsy will determine the type of uterine cancer.

The next step will be to see if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body (metastasized). This can be done with a blood test known as a CA 125 assay, or by X-rays or imaging (usually a CT scan).

Stages of uterine cancer and endometrial cancer

The most common form of uterine cancer, endometrial cancer, is diagnosed in three stages. It is most often diagnosed at Stage I.

  • Stage IA: Cancer is limited to endometrium or is found in less than half the myometrium (the smooth muscle tissue of the uterus).
    • IB: Cancer is found in half or more of myometrium.
  • Stage II: Cancer is found in the stromal connective tissue of the cervix but does not extend past the uterus.
  • Stage IIIA: Cancer is found in the serosa and/or adnexa (direct extension or metastasis).
    • IIIB: Cancer is found in the vagina or parametrium.

If you have been diagnosed with uterine or endometrial cancer, we offer the most advanced treatment options.