Endometrial cancer starts when the cells in the endometrium, which is the mucous membrane lining the uterus, start multiplying at an uncontrolled rate. As the disorder is usually slow to reveal itself, the following tests are recommended to diagnose endometrial cancer as soon as you experience any symptoms like vaginal bleeding after menopause or irregular bleeding between periods.
In a pelvic examination, the doctor carefully examines the outer portion of your genitals. Two fingers are inserted into your vagina while simultaneously pressing the abdomen to feel your uterus and ovaries. The doctor might also insert a speculum into your vagina to open up your genital tract for a careful examination of both the vagina and the cervix.
This procedure uses sound waves to create a full picture of your uterus. Doctors also recommend a transvaginal ultrasound for looking deeply into the thickness and texture of the endometrium for ruling out all other possible options.
In hysteroscopy, a thin and flexible tube (hysteroscope) is inserted into your uterus through the vagina and cervix. The hysteroscope lens allows the doctor to examine your uterus and endometrium lining more clearly.
This procedure involves excision of some uterus cells and checking them for any infection. The endometrium cells would be sent for laboratory analysis to check the extent of the disorder.
Dilation and Curettage (D&C)
If doctors are unable to get cells for biopsy, or if the biopsy results are unclear, then a surgical procedure is done for getting tissues from the endometrium lining. These cells are then examined under a microscope.
After diagnosis, the next step is to determine the stage of your endometrial cancer. Different types of tests, such as chest X-ray, a Computerized Tomography (CT) scan, Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan, and blood tests are done to check the extent of cancer by a top rated oncologist. The stage of your disease determines what treatment plan you would require.
Different Stages of Endometrial Cancer
- Stage 1 – This is the initial stage of cancer and is only found in your uterus.
- Stage 2 – In this stage, the cancerous cells grow to both uterus and cervix.
- Stage 3 – By this stage, cancer would have spread beyond the uterus, but would not have reached the rectum and bladder. The pelvic area lymph nodes might be affected though.
- Stage 4 – In Stage 4, endometrial cancer would have spread beyond the pelvic region, and it is most likely to have affected your bladder, rectum, and other parts of the body.