Uterine Cancer Screening
At this point, scientists have yet to develop a routine, effective screening test for uterine cancer. Screening refers to testing people who have no symptoms of the disease in an attempt to detect the disease in its early stages. Tests currently being studied for use in uterine cancer screening include Pap tests, transvaginal ultrasounds, and endometrial sampling.
Screening is used to test for early stages of a disease when there are no symptoms present. At this point, a routine, effective uterine cancer screening test has not been developed.
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.
Scientists have studied patterns of cancer in the population to learn:
- Which people are more likely to get certain types of cancer
- What things around us may cause cancer
- What things we do in our lives may cause cancer (see Cause of Uterine Cancer).
This information can help healthcare providers recommend:
- Who should be screened for certain types of cancer
- What types of screening tests people should have
- How often these tests should be done.
If your healthcare provider suggests certain screening tests as part of your healthcare plan, this does not mean that he or she thinks that you have cancer. Screening tests are done when people do not have symptoms.
Decisions about screening can be difficult. Therefore, you may want to talk to your healthcare provider about the potential benefits and risks of these tests and whether they have been proven to decrease the risk of dying from cancer.
If your healthcare provider suspects that you may have cancer, he or she will order diagnostic tests. Tests that are used for diagnostic purposes are usually not suitable for screening people who do not have symptoms.