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Uterine Cancer Stage

Once a woman has been diagnosed with uterine cancer, it's then important to determine the stage (or extent) of the disease. The stages of uterine cancer include stages I-IV and recurrent cancer. Some of the tests and procedures that are used to determine the stage include blood and urine tests, chest x-rays, and computed tomography scans. In the majority of cases, the most reliable way to determine the is to remove the uterus.

Uterine Cancer Stage: An Overview

If a uterine cancer diagnosis is made, the doctor will need to determine the uterine cancer stage, or extent, of the disease. It's important to know the stage of the disease in order to plan the best uterine cancer treatment. Uterine cancer staging is an attempt to find out the size of the tumor, whether the disease has spread, and if so, to what parts of the body.
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. For more information on the stages of uterine sarcoma, click Uterine Sarcoma Stages.

Staging Tests for Uterine Cancer

The following tests and procedures may be used to determine the uterine cancer stage:
  • Blood and urine tests
  • Chest x-ray
  • Ultrasound
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Sigmoidoscopy
  • Colonoscopy.
In the majority of cases, the most reliable way to determine the uterine cancer stage is to remove the uterus (hysterectomy). After the uterus has been removed, the surgeon can look for obvious signs that the cancer has invaded the muscle of the uterus. The surgeon can also check the lymph nodes and other organs in the pelvic area for signs of cancer. A pathologist will use a microscope to examine the uterus and other tissues removed by the surgeon.
The following stages are used to describe endometrial cancer:
  • Stage I
  • Stage II
  • Stage III
  • Stage IV
  • Recurrent.
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