Gestational Trophoblastic Disease: Diagnosis

Most commonly, a woman will notice irregular bleeding and who may be pregnant.  To diagnose GTN, your doctor will need to perform a complete physical exam, including a pelvic exam that looks at and feels for abnormalities of the vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries and rectum.  In addition, the following procedures may be performed:

  • Ultrasound exam of the pelvis
  • Blood tests including checking for levels of b-hCG, a pregnancy hormone
  • Urine studies
  • Curetting of inside of uterus to obtain tissue samples

Hydatidiform Moles, or molar pregnancy, are found in the uterus only and do not spread.  These conditions are not considered cancerous.

When GTN spreads to another part of the body, it is called metastasis.  The process to find out if cancer has spread is called cancer staging.  After diganosis, tests are done to find out if cancer has metastasized:

  • Chest X-ray
  • CT (computer tomography) scan
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans
  • Lumbar Puncture:  a procedure to collect spinal fluid from the spinal canal

A Hydatidiform mole, or molar pregnancy, does not spread.  

A description of the different stages of GTN is as follows: 

Stage I    

 

Cancer is found limited within the uterus

Stage II    

 

The cancer has spread outside of the uterus to the ovary, fallopian tube, and vagina.

Stage III    

 

The cancer has spread to the lung.

Stage IV    

 

The tumor has spread to other areas beyond other than lungs.