What is fallopian tube cancer?
Fallopian tube cancer, also called tubal cancer, is one of the rarest gynecological cancers. There are only about 1,500 to 2,000 cases reported in the United States per year.
While some fallopian tube cancer develops inside the tubes that connect the uterus and the ovaries, it is more common for cancer to spread to the fallopian tubes from other parts of the body. Though it can occur at any age, fallopian tube cancer typically affects women between the ages of 50 and 60.
Caucasian women who have had no children are more likely to develop the disease.
What are the different types of fallopian tube cancer?
There are two types of fallopian tube cancer that form in the cells lining the inside of the tubes:
- Endometrioid adenocarcinomas
- Serous adenocarcinomas
Leiomyosarcomas and transitional cell cancer are rarer types of fallopian tube cancer. They form in the tube’s smooth muscle and other cells inside the fallopian tube, respectively.
Secondary cancers that can metastasize, or spread, to the fallopian tubes include:
What are the symptoms of fallopian tube cancer?
Fallopian tube cancer symptoms may include:
- Abnormal vaginal discharge that may be clear, white, or pink
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding after menopause
- Abdominal pain and pressure
- A pelvic mass
Fallopian tube cancer symptoms may resemble other gynecological issues. If you are concerned about symptoms you may be experiencing, discuss them with your doctor.
What are the causes and risk factors of fallopian tube cancer?
Scientists do not yet know the exact causes of fallopian tube cancer. Risk factors may include:
- Age: Though it can occur in women of any age, fallopian tube cancer is most often diagnosed in Caucasian women between 50 and 60 years old.
- Gene mutations: Certain gene mutations may indicate an increased risk for developing fallopian tube cancer, including BRCA and BRCA1.
- Family history: Women whose family members have developed fallopian tube cancer may also have a higher risk.
Typically, the more children a woman has had, the lower her risk for fallopian tube cancer. Using birth control pills also lowers a woman’s risk for the disease.
How is fallopian tube cancer diagnosed and treated?
If a doctor determines your symptoms may indicate fallopian tube cancer, he or she will perform a series of diagnostic tests. To find out if you have fallopian tube cancer, you may undergo the following:
- Pelvic exam
- Pelvic or transvaginal ultrasound
- CT scan
- MRI scan
- Biopsy (usually requires surgery)
- CA125 blood test
Fallopian tube cancer treatment depends on the size, location, and stage of the cancer. Treatment may include surgery to remove the fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus, cervix, and nearby lymph nodes. After surgery, chemotherapy is usually recommended. If the cancer cannot be treated, radiation therapy may be given to lessen symptoms and improve comfort.
Fallopian Tube Cancer Treatment at Baptist Cancer Center
Fallopian tube cancer is a serious disease, but in most cases, it can be treated. At Baptist Cancer Center, your fallopian cancer care team may include medical oncologists, surgical and radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, and physical therapists.
Baptist Cancer Center gynecological cancer physicians and specialists are dedicated to fighting fallopian tube cancer with you as a team and providing you with the most comprehensive, close-to-home care possible.