Screening for endometrial cancer
Experts do not recommend screening healthy women at average risk for endometrial cancer. Even in high-risk women, regular screening for endometrial cancer may not improve cancer outcomes. It is important for women who are at high risk to discuss the benefits and limitations of endometrial screening with their doctor. Women with an inherited mutation in any of the following genes are considered at high risk for endometrial cancer:
Screening for endometrial cancer usually includes a combination of the following:
- Women should be educated on the possible signs of uterine cancer and report any of the following to their doctor:
- unusual vaginal bleeding
- pelvic or abdominal pain
- abdominal distension
- difficulty eating
- increased urinary frequency or urgency
- pain during sex
- During a pelvic exam, the doctor carefully feels the pelvic area for any changes that might be cancer.
- Transvaginal uses sound waves to look for any thickening of the endometrium. The test works best for screening in post-menopausal women.
- Endometrial biopsies involve removing a small sample of endometrial tissue under local anesthesia. A pathologist will examine the tissue under a microscope and perform special tests to look for cancer or other abnormalities. Endometrial biopsies are quick outpatient procedures.
Experts do not recommend routine endometrial cancer screening for women at average risk. Women should report any of the signs of endometrial cancer listed above to their doctor.
Gynecologists are experts who specialize in the female reproductive system. They also perform screening for reproductive cancers, including ovarian, endometrial and cervical. Not all gynecologists are experts in screening for cancers in high-risk people. If you already have a gynecologist, ask how many patients with your mutation they care for, and what risk-management guidelines they follow. Gynecologic oncologists are experts in treatment or prevention of cancers of the female reproductive system.
- The Foundation for Women's Cancer has a search tool to help you find a gynecologic oncologist. .
- The National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated comprehensive cancer centers deliver cutting-edge cancer care to patients in communities across the United States. Most centers have specialized screening and prevention centers for high risk people. Find a center near you and learn about its specific research capabilities, programs, and initiatives.
- Register for the FORCE Message Boards to get referrals from other members. Once you register, you can post on the Find a Specialist board to connect with other people who share your situation.