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by Wood D

Screening for Uterine (Endometrial) Cancer

Screening is a way to evaluate people without symptoms to determine if they are at risk for cancer or have already developed cancer.
Screening involves:
  • Assessing your medical history and lifestyle habits for anything that may increase or decrease your risk of uterine cancer
  • Tests to identify early signs of uterine cancer

Screening Guidelines

There are no current recommended screening tests for uterine cancer.
Women with high risk for endometrial cancer or atypical hyperplasia may be screened. Screening is recommended only for those with certain risk factors, such as Lynch syndrome colorectal cancer, a rare familial syndrome in which multiple family members often develop colorectal and other tumors. These women should be followed closely by a doctor or team of doctors with expertise in cancer genetics. For a period of years, screening was recommended for all women taking tamoxifen, but the current recommendation is not to screen, but to test if uterine bleeding occurs.
If you have symptoms such as vaginal bleeding after you go through menopause, or heavy or irregular bleeding before menopause, you should discuss these with your doctor.

Screening Tests

Endometrial biopsy —This procedure is not considered a routine screening test. More often it is performed if you are having symptoms that raise concern as to your risk for uterine cancer. A thin, flexible instrument is passed through the vagina and into the uterus. A sample of endometrial tissue is removed for examination under a microscope.
Transvaginal ultrasonography—Also not routinely used as a screening test, this ultrasonography is a way of taking a picture of the uterus using echoes from sound waves. The endometrial layer inside the uterus can be seen and measured. Excessive thickness may be an indication for further testing. This test is often used if you are experiencing problems like abnormal vaginal bleeding.


American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org.
Bast R, Kufe D, et al, eds. Cancer Medicine. 5th ed. Hamilton, Ontario: BC Decker Inc; 2000.
National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.nci.nih.gov.
Rakel R. Bope E, ed. Conn's Current Therapy. 54th ed. St. Louis, MO: WB Saunders; 2002: 1094-1096.

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