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Diagnostic Tests for Uterine Cancer

written by: R. Elizabeth C. Kitchen • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 6/30/2009

This article focuses on the diagnostic tests used to diagnose uterine cancer.

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    Uterine cancer is simply defined as cancer of the uterus. This cancer is considered quite rare. There are several diagnostic tests for uterine cancer. In most cases if uterine cancer is suspected, many different diagnostic tests will be performed. These tests can also be performed to rule out other medical conditions.

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    Physical Exam

    A physical exam is the first thing a doctor will do when attempting to diagnose uterine cancer. During this exam the doctor will begin by asking about the patients symptoms, asking about the patients medical history and asking about the patients family medical history. Once this is complete the doctor will check the patients vital signs to assess the patients overall health and then they may perform additional exams specifically to check for uterine cancer.

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    Pelvic Exam

    The pelvic exam is typically the first diagnostic test for uterine cancer. During this exam the doctor will use a speculum to open the vagina and cervix and then the doctor will look into the pelvic area. The doctor may also feel around. This exam is performed to check for any abnormalities of the uterus as well as the other pelvic organs such as the vagina, fallopian tubes, bladder, rectum, uterus and ovaries.

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    Pap Smear

    A pap smear is a commonly used diagnostic test for uterine cancer. During this test a swab will be inserted into the vagina to collect cells. These cells will be analyzed in a laboratory for any abnormalities and to try to rule out other medical conditions.

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    Imaging

    Imaging tests are often used as diagnostic tests for uterine cancer. These tests are often used to look for tumors and other abnormalities of the uterus and surrounding organs. Transvaginal ultrasound is the most common imaging technique and is performed by inserting the imaging instrument into the vagina. Other imaging techniques used to diagnose uterine cancer may include traditional x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging, computerized tomography and other types of ultrasound.

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    Lab Tests

    Urine and blood tests are often used as a diagnostic test for uterine cancer. These tests can be used to help determine pathology and to rule out other medical conditions. These tests may also be ordered to help determine the patients' overall health.

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    Dilation and Curettage

    Dilation and Curettage is a surgical procedure often used as a diagnostic test for uterine cancer. During this procedure the doctor goes in through the vagina to collect tissue samples (biopsy) from the uterus and sometimes the surrounding organs. These biopsied tissue samples are then sent to a lab for pathology and analyzing.

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    Resources

    Wrong Diagnosis. (2009). Diagnostic Tests for Uterine Cancer. Retrieved on June 30, 2009 from Website: http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/u/uterine_cancer/tests.htm


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