Endometrial Cancer:
Diagnosis and Staging

This page covers tests that are often used to help diagnose and stage endometrial cancer.
Depending on the symptoms you have, you may also be asked to undergo other tests and investigations.

“Hope is grief’s best music.”

Marco Calderon

Diagnostic Tests to Determine Cancer Type

Once the doctor is sure of an abnormality, diagnostic tests are done to determine further details about the type of cancer present.

Hysteroscopy

What to expect

This test helps your doctor to visually examine the inside of your uterus and the vaginallining for any abnormalities.This test is generally performed using a local anaesthetic (numbing medicine). Due to the anaesthetic, you will generally be pain-free. You can expect some minor discomfort while
undergoing the test.It is important that you choose a doctor and clinical team that you are comfortable with to perform your check-up.

During the procedure:

  • You will first be asked to undress the lower part of your body and lie on your back on the examination table. Ask for a sheet or blanket to cover yourselfwhile you wait for your doctor.
  • Try to relax your pelvic area, as this will make the exam more comfortable for you.
  • The doctor will start by administering the local anaesthetic to numb the area.
  • Next, your doctor will insert a thin, flexible tube with a light source (called a hysteroscope) through your vagina and cervix, into your uterus.
  • To get a better view of the inside (lining) of the uterus, the uterus is filled with salt water (saline).

Biopsy

What to expect

A biopsy is usually the best way to tell for certain if an abnormal area is cancerous or not and is usually done immediately after the hysteroscopy. This procedure involves collecting a sample of endometrial tissue for further analysis in a lab. 

During this procedure, your doctor will draw some cells from the endometrial lining into a tube using gentle suction. You might feel some period-like cramps while it is being done, but they usually wear off in a few minutes. After the test, you may have light bleeding and some mild period-like discomfort for a couple of days.

Dilation & curettage (D&C)

What to expect

A procedure called dilation & curettage (D&C) may become essential, if adequate tissue cannot be obtained during a biopsy or if the results of a biopsy are unclear. This procedure involves scraping of tissue from the lining of your uterus, which is then examined under a microscope to check for cancer cells.

  • During this procedure: You will be placed under a general anaesthetic
  • The doctor will stretch (dilate) your cervix to open it, and use a hysteroscope to examine the uterus
  • The doctor will then use a small instrument (called a curette) to carefully remove tissue from the vaginal lining

After the procedure, you may have period-like pains and some vaginal bleeding, which can last for a few days.

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