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How are gestational trophoblastic tumors diagnosed?

Gestational trophoblastic tumors may be suspected by symptoms or findings during a physical examination suggesting the presence of a growth in the uterus of a woman who is pregnant or was recently pregnant. Blood tests may show anemia (low red blood cell count) if there was been a significant amount of vaginal bleeding or increased human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) levels. HCG levels in the urine may also be elevated.

Ultrasounds can detect gestational trophoblastic tumors in most cases. Two types of ultrasound may be used: pelvic ultrasonography, which involves a device applied to the skin of the lower abdomen, and transvaginal ultrasonography, which involves placing an instrument inside the vagina. Diagnosing gestational trophoblastic tumors with certainty requires the detection of tumor cells with a microscope. These cells are most often obtained from the tissue removed from the inside of the uterus during a dilation and curettage (D and C) procedure.

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