Uterine Cancer Diagnosis & Detection
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Video: The Importance of Accurately Diagnosing & Staging CancerLearn about the importance of an accurate cancer diagnosis.
The Importance of Accurately Diagnosing & Staging Cancer
Dr. Timothy McCay explains why it’s important for doctors to accurately diagnose and stage each patient’s cancer.
At Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), our team of cancer doctors uses sophisticated, minimally invasive technology to detect uterine cancer, and to determine the type and stage of the disease.
During your first visit, you’ll undergo a comprehensive exam. This helps us formulate an individualized treatment plan that is best suited to your needs. If you’ve been treated at another hospital, we will make sure that you’ve received the correct cancer diagnosis.
Throughout your treatment, we will use diagnostic imaging and laboratory tests to monitor how the uterine cancer is responding. If the cancer is resisting treatment, we will modify your plan or recommend using a different therapy.
How Is Uterine Cancer Diagnosed?
Uterine cancer may not cause any symptoms in the early stages. Some women may visit their doctor after experiencing abnormal bleeding or discharge. The following tests are often the first step in making a uterine cancer diagnosis:
- Pelvic Exam: During this type of cancer detection test the doctor will manually examine the abdomen and pelvic area for any nodules or bumps, which are explored in greater detail with imaging technology.
- Hysteroscopy: During this exam, your doctor uses a special lighted microscope, called a hysteroscope, to examine the uterus and identify areas for biopsy.
- Endometrial biopsy: A sample of cells is removed from inside the uterus and sent to the laboratory for examination under a microscope. This procedure is typically performed in a doctor’s office.
- Dilation & Curettage (D&C): When biopsy results are unclear or enough tissue can’t be removed, your doctor may perform a dilation and curettage (D&C). During a D&C, your doctor scrapes tissue from the lining of the uterus for examination under a microscope. A D&C is usually performed under general anesthesia.
Imaging and Diagnostic Tests for Uterine Cancer
Your doctor may use one or a combination of the following imaging tests to determine whether cancer has spread beyond the uterus and to monitor the cancerous tissue during treatment:
Ultrasound - This imaging technology uses sound waves to create an image of your internal organs, including the uterus. The sound that tumors produce is different than healthy tissues, which helps us identify a uterine tumor.
Video: CT Scan Medical AnimationMedical animation
CT (Computerized Tomography) scan – This imaging tool is one of the best modalities we have. A CT scan reveals a detailed, 3D image of the pelvis and abdomen. After a physical exam and ultrasound have been performed, we use a CT scan to locate a tumor before surgery. We also use a CT scan to determine tumor size, what other organs might be affected, and whether lymph nodes are enlarged.
Understanding the extent of the disease helps us formulate the right treatment plan before going into surgery.
Video: MRI Medical AnimationMedical animation
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) – This imaging technique uses radiofrequency waves to create a detailed, cross-sectional image of the uterus and surrounding tissues. An MRI has much greater soft tissue contrast than a CT scan, making it especially useful in detecting tumors and metastases in other parts of the body.
After these tests have been performed, your doctor will discuss your treatment options. In the early stages of uterine cancer, surgery is the first line treatment. A gynecologic oncologist performs these surgeries and cares for a woman throughout uterine cancer treatment. For more advanced uterine cancer, a combination of radiation therapy and chemotherapy treatment options exist.
Next Topic: Uterine Cancer Staging