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Screening

Find out about screening for womb cancer and who might have it.

At the moment there is no screening test that is accurate and reliable enough to detect womb cancer in the general population.

What screening is

Screening means testing people for early stages of an illness before they have any symptoms. For screening to be useful the tests:

  • must be reliable at picking up the illness
  • must be simple and quick
  • shouldn’t show that someone has the illness when they don’t (false positive results)
  • must not cause any harm

Not all screening tests are helpful and they can have risks.

What to do if you think you're at risk

Talk to your GP if you think you are at higher than average risk of womb cancer.

Screening for women at a higher risk of womb cancer

Some women from families with a history of certain cancers are known to be at higher risk of womb cancer. These are known as Lynch syndrome (or HNPCC) families. These women may benefit from regular checks for signs of womb cancer.

Some doctors start giving vaginal ultrasound scans and hysteroscopies to women from these families from age 35 to 40 years. A hysteroscope is a thin telescope that allows doctors to look into the womb and take samples of tissue (biopsies).

Other doctors may only investigate when a woman has symptoms. At this time there is no single accepted way of screening for womb cancer in these families. So you may have screening as part of a research study. Doctors will usually offer women with Lynch syndrome surgery to remove their womb and ovaries once they have had their families, to reduce the risk of cancer.

Last reviewed: 
13 Sep 2014
  • Revised guidelines for the clinical management of Lynch syndrome (HNPCC): recommendations by a group of European experts
    HF Vasen, I Blanco, Kaktan-Collan and others
    Gut, 2013, Volume 62, Issue 6

  • Management of women with a genetic predisposition to gynaecological cancers
    Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, February 2015

  • Cancer and its management (7th edition)
    J Tobias and D Hochhauser
    Wiley-Blackwell, 2015

Information and help

About Cancer generously supported by Dangoor Education since 2010.​