Biopsy for womb cancer

During a biopsy, a sample of cells or tissue is taken from the lining of your womb and checked for cancer cells.

Aspiration biopsy

This can often be done at your clinic appointment. You will not usually need an anaesthetic. But some people may have it at another time, with a local or general anaesthetic.

Your doctor or nurse will gently put an instrument called a speculum into your vagina to keep it open. They carefully pass a fine tube (called a pipelle) through the cervix into your womb.

Having an aspiration biopsy 

They then draw some cells from the womb lining into the tube, using gentle suction. You might feel some period-like cramps while it is being done, but they usually wear off in a few minutes. After the test, you may have light bleeding and some mild period-like discomfort for a couple of days.

Outpatient hysteroscopy

You can have this test in an outpatient clinic. Your doctor or nurse will pass a very thin, flexible tube with a light on the end (hysteroscope) through the vagina and cervix into your womb.

They may put a speculum in your vagina first, and inject a small amount of anaesthetic into the cervix. This helps open the cervix a little and allows the hysteroscope into your womb. They may advise you to take some painkillers an hour before the test.

During the hysteroscopy, pictures of the inside of your womb will show up on a screen. The doctor or nurse will put some clear fluid or air into the hysteroscope to allow them to get a better picture. They will take a sample of tissue (biopsy) from the womb lining.

This test may be uncomfortable, but it should not be painful. If you are worried about the test, talk to your doctor about what they can do to make it as comfortable as possible.

After the test, you will have some vaginal bleeding and period-like cramps for a couple of days. Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers, such as ibuprofen, can help with cramps. You can check with your doctor that these drugs are suitable for you.

Hysteroscopy dilatation and curettage (D&C)

This is done under a general anaesthetic. The surgeon stretches (dilates) the cervix to open it and uses a hysteroscope to examine the womb. They then use a small instrument, called a curette, to carefully remove tissue from the womb lining. Afterwards, you may have period-like pains and some vaginal bleeding for a couple of days.