Discovering uterine cancer with a simple urine test

British scientists announced, Friday, that they have successfully detected endometrial cancer with a simple urine test, which is much less painful and invasive than the tests currently being done.

Currently, women are examined with a biopsy, that is, a sample of cells inside the uterus, which sometimes also requires the insertion of a fine telescope. A painful procedure that 31% of patients have to repeat a second time due to technical problems or unbearable pain that impeded the examination.

But a team of scientists from the University of Manchester has developed a new detection tool, based on the collection of urine or vaginal secretions, which can be done by self-collection at home.

According to their study published in Nature Communications, this new system was able to diagnose 91.7% of women who already had endometrial cancer – or cancer of the uterine body, different from cervical cancer, discovered with a simple swab -. For women without endometrial cancer, the test showed a negative diagnosis efficiency of 88.9%.

Professor Emma Crosby, who led the study, said in a commentary that our results show that cancer cells in the womb can be detected in urine and vaginal samples using a microscope.

According to her, this method can be used to screen people with suspected uterine cancer, for further tests if they test positive. She made clear that those who test negative will be reassured without having to undergo annoying, invasive, alarming and costly procedures.

The professor of gynecological oncology said that this promising study, which has so far included 216 women, 103 of whom are suspected or known to have uterine cancer, will need confirmation in a larger study.

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Endometrial cancer is the sixth most common cancer among women, with 382,000 new cases diagnosed and 89,900 deaths due to the disease in 2018 worldwide.

While most women are treated shortly after the first symptoms – including the onset of postmenopausal bleeding – 20% of women diagnosed with an advanced stage of the disease have only a 15% chance of surviving after 5 years.

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