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Which Tests Are Used to Stage Uterine Sarcoma?

written by: R. Elizabeth C. Kitchen • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 3/31/2011

Are you looking for information on uterine sarcoma staging tests? Here we will list and discuss the different tests that may be used.

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    Uterine sarcoma is a condition characterized by cancer cells forming in the uterus' muscles or in any of the other tissues responsible for supporting the uterus. Once this cancer is diagnosed, it has to be staged before a treatment regimen can be developed. A doctor will perform different uterine sarcoma staging tests to determine the stage of the cancer.

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    Transvaginal Ultrasound

    This is a type of diagnostic imaging. During the procedure the technician will closely examine the patient's uterus, bladder, fallopian tubes and vagina. An ultrasound transducer will be carefully placed into the patient's vagina and high-energy sound waves are bounced off internal organs or tissues to make echoes. These create a sonogram, or a picture of body tissue. By looking at a sonogram, a doctor will be able to identify tumors.

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    Chest X-Ray

    This X-ray is done to get a better look at the bones and organs in the chest cavity. This may be done to see if the cancer has spread.

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    Blood Testing

    A CA 125 assay may be performed to measure CA 125 levels in the blood. This substance is released into the bloodstream by cells. If it is elevated, it could indicate cancer or another condition. Blood chemistry studies may also be done. If certain substances are lower or higher than normal, it could indicate disease in an organ or an organ's tissues.

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    CT Scan

    This procedure is diagnostic imaging and it involves getting detailed images of the interior of the body. In some cases, a dye is used to make organs and tissues easier to see. This procedure may also be referred to as computerized tomography, computed tomography or computerized axial tomography.

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    Cystoscopy

    This is a procedure that may be performed to get a better look at the inside of the urethra and the bladder to look for abnormal areas. A cystoscope will be inserted into the bladder through the urethra. During the procedure the doctor may also remove tissue samples that can be sent to a laboratory for further analysis.

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    Barium Enema

    This procedure involves putting a barium-containing liquid into the rectum and then taking X-rays of the lower gastrointestinal tract. This may also be referred to as a lower GI series.

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    Sigmoidoscopy

    This procedure is done to look in the sigmoid colon and rectum for abnormal areas, polyps or cancer. It involves inserting a sigmoidoscope into the rectum to the sigmoid colon. The doctor may also remove tissue samples or any polyps during the procedure.

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    Surgical Tests

    There are several surgical uterine sarcoma staging tests. These surgeries may be used to diagnose, stage and treat at the same time. These include laparotomy, total abdominal hysterectomy, lymphadenectomy, abdominal and pelvic washings, and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy.

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    Resources

    National Cancer Institute. (2011). General Information About Uterine Sarcoma. Retrieved on March 29, 2011 from the National Cancer Institute: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/uterinesarcoma/Patient/page1

    The Cleveland Clinic. (2011). Uterine Sarcoma. Retrieved on March 29, 2011 from The Cleveland Clinic: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/uterine_sarcoma/hic_uterine_sarcoma.aspx