The symptoms of uterine sarcoma may vary depending on the type of sarcoma, and sometimes there are few symptoms in the early stages. The most common symptom of the disease is bleeding after menopause (the time when a woman no longer has menstrual periods) or bleeding that is not part of menstrual periods.
A woman should see a doctor if she experiences:
- post-menopausal bleeding
- spotting between periods
- abnormal discharge without any visible blood, or pelvic pain
Although these symptoms may be caused by other conditions or problems, they should be evaluated.
If a woman has symptoms of uterine sarcoma, her doctor will do certain tests to check for cancer, usually beginning with an internal (pelvic) examination. During the examination, the doctor will feel for any lumps or changes in the shape of the pelvic organs.
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The doctor may also do a Pap test. Using a piece of cotton, a small wooden stick, or brush, the doctor gently scrapes the outside of the cervix (the opening of the uterus) and the vagina to pick up cells. Because sarcoma of the uterus begins inside the uterus, this cancer will not usually show up on the Pap test.
The doctor may want to do a dilation and curettage (D & C) by stretching the cervix and inserting a small, spoon-shaped instrument into the uterus to remove pieces of the lining of the uterus. The tissue is then checked under a microscope for cancer cells.
The prognosis (chance of recovery) and choice of treatment for uterine sarcoma depend on the stage of the sarcoma (whether it is just in the uterus or has spread to other places), how fast the tumor cells are growing, and the patient’s general state of health.
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