Fallopian Tube Cancer

What is Fallopian Tube Cancer

Fallopian tube cancer, also called tubal cancer, is a cancer that starts in the tissues or cells of the fallopian tubes. The fallopian tubes are part of the reproductive system in women.

The two fallopian tubes connect the uterus to the ovaries. Eggs move from the ovaries through the fallopian tubes on their way to the uterus.

Fallopian tube cancer can spread (metastasize) to the ovaries or to other parts of the body.

What are the causes?

This condition may be caused by:

  • Inherited gene mutations. These are altered genes that are passed down in your family and are different from the genes that are found in most people.
  • Other cancers that start in the ovaries, uterus, or gastrointestinal tract.

What increases the risk?

The following factors may make you more likely to develop this condition:

  • Having a family history of fallopian tube cancer or ovarian cancer.
  • Having certain inherited genetic conditions that raise the risk of cancer, such as Lynch syndrome.
  • Not being able to become pregnant (having infertility) or choosing not to become pregnant.
  • Having tissues from the uterus growing outside of the uterus (endometriosis).
  • Being older than 50 years of age.
  • Being overweight.
  • Being of Northern European, North American, or Ashkenazi Jewish descent.
  • Using estrogen-only hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

What are the signs or symptoms?

Symptoms of this condition include:

  • Bloating, pressure, pain, or swelling in the abdomen.
  • Pelvic pain or pressure, or the appearance of a lump or mass in the pelvic area.
  • Watery vaginal fluid (discharge) that is clear, white, or bloody.
  • Upset stomach, indigestion, constipation, or gas.
  • Vaginal bleeding that is heavier than normal.
  • Pain during sexual intercourse.
  • Needing to urinate more often or more urgently.
  • Fatigue.
  • Back pain.
  • Problems with eating or feeling full after eating a small amount.

How is this diagnosed?

This condition may be diagnosed based on:

  • Your medical history and a physical exam.
  • A pelvic and abdominal exam to check your ovaries, uterus, vulva, cervix, vagina, bladder, rectum, and fallopian tubes.
  • Tests, such as:
    • An imaging test that uses sound waves to take pictures of your uterus, bladder, ovaries and fallopian tubes (transvaginal ultrasound). For this test, a sound wave probe is inserted into your vagina.
    • Blood tests.
    • CT scan, PET scan, or MRI.
    • X-rays of the colon and rectum.
    • Taking a small piece of tissue to examine it under a microscope (biopsy).
    • Removing built-up fluid from the abdomen (ascites) to be examined under a microscope (paracentesis).

How is this treated?

Treatment for this condition may include:

  • Surgery to help remove cancer from your body. The surgery will vary depending on the stage of the cancer. It may involve removing one or both fallopian tubes (salpingectomy) or one or both ovaries (oophorectomy), or both (salpingo-oophorectomy). Other organs or tissues may also need to be removed.
  • Chemotherapy. This uses medicines to kill the cancer cells.
  • Targeted therapy. This uses drugs to attack specific areas within cancer cells to kill the cells or stop them from growing.
  • Radiation therapy. This uses high-energy rays to kill the cancer cells.
  • Immunotherapy. This uses the body’s own immune system to fight the cancer.

Follow these instructions at home:

  • Follow your care plan as directed by your cancer care team.
  • Talk with your health care provider about possible side effects from treatment and how to prepare for them.
  • Think about asking a family member, a friend, or another person to help you at home.
  • Ask your health care provider about diet and lifestyle changes.
  • Consider joining a support group with others who have cancer. A support group may help you with resources and information to help you cope with your cancer.

Keep all follow-up visits as told by your health care provider. This is important.

Contact a health care provider if:

  • You have questions about your treatment plan or have problems following it.

Get help right away if:

  • You have a fever or chills.
  • You have serious side effects or an allergic reaction to a treatment or medicine.
  • You are not able to follow a prescribed treatment plan or take a medicine.
  • You have back pain that is new.
  • You have increased pain, swelling, or bloating in your abdomen.

Summary

  • Fallopian tube cancer, also called tubal cancer, is a cancer that starts in the tissues or cells of the fallopian tubes.
  • You may have surgery to help remove cancer from your body. Surgery may be combined with other treatments.
  • Follow your care plan as directed by your cancer care team.
  • Report any new or unusual symptoms to your cancer care team.
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