Uterine Sarcoma Diagnosis
If a woman has uterine sarcoma symptoms, her health care provider will recommend some tests along with a gynecological exam to rule out or perform more sophisticated procedures to confirm the presence of the cancer in her uterus. During the examination, the doctor will palpate the pelvic organs looking for lumps or changes in size.
A smear can also be done during the gynecological exam. Using a bit of cotton wool at the end of a stick or a small brush, the specialist gently scrapes the outside of the cervix and vagina to collect a few cells. As uterine sarcoma develops within the uterus, it is generally not detected by the smear. This is why the doctor may perform a dilation and curettage(D&C) by opening the cervix to introduce a small spoon-shaped instrument to remove a tiny tissue of the lining of the uterus. These samples are then examined under a microscope searching for cancer cells to accurately confirm the patient has uterine sarcoma.
Uterine Sarcoma Stages
The survival or chance of recovery (prognosis) and treatment recommended to the patient depends on the stage of the sarcoma at diagnosis. A cancer of the uterus located only in the uterus will have a treatment different from one that has spread to other tissues or organs in the body. In addition, the general health of the patient is usually considered in the final choice of the treatment.
Therefore, when a woman is diagnosed with uterine sarcoma, other tests are usually performed to determine the stage of the cancer, which allows the doctor to decide the best treatment possible. The following stages are used to describe uterine sarcoma:
Stage I: Cancer is found only in the main part of the uterus (not the neck).
Stage II: Cancer cells have spread to the cervix, but not outside the uterus.
Stage III: Cancer cells have spread outside the uterus but not outside the pelvis.
Stage IV: The cancer cells have spread outside the pelvis to other parts of the body or within the bladder or rectum.
Recurring: in this case, the cancer has recurred after treatment.