To evaluate the risk of missing a malignancy in surgical specimens following hysterectomy for uterine prolapse if routine pathological examination is not performed. Additionally, information on the risk of missing an hitherto unsuspected malignancy if uterine preservation is the preferred management option will be provided.

Materials and Methods
A retrospective study was performed on all cases of surgery performed for uterine prolapse in a tertiary referral institution from 2003 to 2011. Those with confirmed malignancy before operation were excluded. The study subjects had their clinical history, investigations, the type of operations and histopathology report analysed. They were classified into symptomatic or asymptomatic, depending on whether they reported symptoms that were suggestive of uterine malignancy.

A total of 640 women were studied. Three cases of hitherto unsuspected uterine malignancy were found, giving an incidence of 0.47%. Among the 456 asymptomatic women, both pre‐ and postmenopausal, the risk of incidental malignancy was 0.22%. Within the postmenopausal group, risk of incidental malignancy was 0.26%. Another 3 cases of uterine premalignant conditions were identified, giving an overall risk of premalignant and malignant uterine condition of 0.94%. Five cases of cervical intra‐epithelial neoplasia were found, contributing to a risk of 0.78%.

The risk of missing an uterine malignancy in patients with uterine prolapse is low if appropriate investigations are carried out prior to surgery. If hysterectomy is to be performed, we recommend that all surgical specimens be subjected to histopathological examination.