Cancer Home > Uterine Cancer Diagnosis

If a woman has possible symptoms of uterine cancer, diagnosis may involve a physical exam, a review of the patient's personal and family history, and additional tests and procedures that examine the cervix and uterus. The exams and tests used to confirm a diagnosis may include a Pap test, a transvaginal ultrasound, a biopsy, and a dilatation and curettage (D&C).

An Introduction to Diagnosing Uterine Cancer

If a woman has possible symptoms of uterine cancer, the doctor will need to perform a physical exam, ask about the patient's personal and family medical history, and recommend additional tests and procedures that examine the cervix and uterus.
Most cases of uterine cancer occur in the lining (endometrium) of the uterus. This article uses the term "uterine cancer" to refer to this type of cancer, also known as endometrial cancer. This article does not discuss a rare type of uterine cancer that can occur in the muscles or other tissues that support the uterus. Click Uterine Sarcoma for more information on this topic.

Physical Exam and History

The physical exam will include a pelvic exam to check the:
  • Vagina
  • Uterus
  • Bladder
  • Rectum.
The doctor will feel these organs for any lumps or changes in their shape or size. In order to see the upper part of the vagina and the cervix, the doctor will insert an instrument called a speculum into the vagina. The medical history will include questions about the patient's health habits and a family history of any medical conditions, past illnesses, and treatments.

Exams and Tests

The exams and tests that are used to diagnose uterine cancer may include:
  • Pap test (Pap smear)
  • Transvaginal ultrasound
  • Biopsy
  • Dilatation and curettage.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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