What Is the Endometrial Stripe and How Is It Connected to Uterine Cancer?

Question

What is the endometrial stripe, and how is it connected to uterine cancer?

Answer

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), uterine cancer (also known as endometrial cancer) is the most common gynecologic cancer in the US [1].

The inner lining of the uterus is called the endometrium, and the thickness of the endometrium is measured using ultrasound and MRI [2]. When the endometrium shows up on an MRI or ultrasound, it looks like a dark stripe, sometimes called the endometrial stripe. The thickness of the endometrium can give your doctor much information about the health of your uterus, especially if you are post-menopausal. 

The uterine stripe is typically less than five millimeters (mm)  in thickness for post-menopausal women [2]. If the endometrium is greater than five mm with abnormal vaginal bleeding, there is a risk there could be endometrial cancer, which is a cancer that develops in the endometrium of the uterus [2]. 

Endometrial cancer causes abnormal bleeding and vaginal discharge and can also lead to pelvic pressure and pain [3]. When symptoms present, doctors can conduct different screening tests for uterine cancer, including endometrial biopsy, hysteroscopy, and dilation and curettage (D&C) [4]. There is no routine screening exam for uterine cancer, and a PAP test does not test for uterine cancer, so it is important to pay attention to your symptoms and call your doctor if you experience them after menopause [4].

Treatment for endometrial cancer depends on the kind of uterine cancer and whether it has stayed in the uterus or spread to the body. Your doctor may recommend surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or other types of medications that are targeted for your type of cancer [5]. 

Sources

[1] CDC. (2023, June 8). Uterine cancer statistics. Uterine Cancer Statistics | CDC

[2] Knipe, H. (2023, September 18). Endometrial thickness. Endometrial thickness | Radiology Reference Article | Radiopaedia.org

[3] CDC. (2023, June 14). What are the symptoms? What Are the Symptoms of Uterine Cancer? | CDC

[4] CDC. (2023, June 14). What should I know about screening? What Should I Know About Uterine Cancer Screening? | CDC

[5] CDC. (2023, June 14). How is uterine cancer treated? How Is Uterine Cancer Treated? | CDC


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