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Diagnosing Uterine (Endometrial) Cancer

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Tests that examine the endometrium are used to find and diagnose endometrial (uterine) cancer. Because endometrial (uterine) cancer begins inside the uterus, it does not usually show up in the results of a Pap test. For this reason, a sample of endometrial tissue must be removed and examined under a microscope to look for cancer cells. One of the following procedures may be used:

  • Endometrial biopsy: The removal of a small amount of tissue from the endometrium (inner lining of the uterus) by inserting a thin, flexible tube through the cervix and into the uterus. A pathologist views the tissue under a microscope to look for cancer cells.
  • Dilatation and curettage: A surgical procedure to remove samples of tissue or the inner lining of the uterus. The cervix is dilated and a curette (spoon-shaped instrument) is inserted into the uterus to remove tissue. Tissue samples may be taken for biopsy.
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