To confirm whether cancer is present, your doctor may order a biopsy, which involves removal of a small tissue sample for examination under a microscope. Whenever possible, our doctors use minimally invasive procedures. Biopsy procedures include:
- Colposcopy: Examination of the cervix to look for abnormalities and/or to take a tissue sample.
- Endocervical curettage: Removal of tissue from the lining of the canal inside the cervix.
- Cone biopsy: Using an electrical wire loop (loop electrosurgical excision procedure, or LEEP) or a surgical scalpel (cold knife cone biopsy) to remove a cone-shaped piece of tissue.
- Endometrial biopsy: Using a flexible tube to remove a tissue sample from inside the uterus.
- Dilation and curettage (D&C): Collection of tissue samples from the uterine lining and inside the cervical canal.
- Punch biopsy: Removal of a small section of vulvar tissue for examination.
- Ultrasound-guided needle biopsy: Using an ultrasound (sound wave) image to guide a thin needle into selected tissue for sampling.
- MRI-guided needle biopsy: Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to guide a thin needle into selected tissue for sampling.
- Sentinel node biopsy: Injection of a dye near a previously identified tumor to determine whether the cancer has spread to the lymphatic system.
Diagnostic imaging options include:
- Ultrasound: Imaging that uses the echoes from high-frequency sound waves to allow your doctor to see whether an abnormality is a tumor, a fibroid, or a fluid-filled cyst.
- Transvaginal ultrasound: Using a transducer placed inside the vagina to generate images of the uterus and endometrium.
- Computed tomography (CT): A type of X-ray scan that captures detailed pictures of structures inside of the body.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): Using a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to make pictures of organs and structures inside the body to help determine the extent of the disease and detect any hidden tumors.
- Positron emission tomography (PET): A scan that uses radioactive-tagged sugar in the bloodstream to detect small tumors or to measure treatment results.
- Intravenous pyelogram (IVP): X-rays of the kidneys and urinary tract, taken with a contrast dye.