Facts and figures about fallopian tube cancer
Fallopian tube cancer is very rare, it accounts for only 1% of all cancers of the female reproductive system. Age related, being most common in females aged 50-60 years.
Risk factors are not known but may include a family history of breast or ovarian cancer (possible link to the BRCA gene mutation) and chronic infections.
Fallopian tube cancer symptoms
- Painful/swollen abdomen.
- Post-menopausal bleeding.
- Irregular bleeding in pre-menopausal women.
- Blood stained/watery vaginal discharge.
Diagnosis of fallopian tube cancer
Investigations may include:
- Physical examination (including internal).
- Blood tests (will include CA 125 tumour marker).
- Ultrasound scan.
- CT scan.
- MRI scan.
- Laparoscopy/Laparotomy- tissue samples will usually be taken during this for analysis.
Fallopian tube cancer treatment
Depends on several factors:
- The stage of the cancer.
- Age and general health.
Surgery is the main treatment. In very early stage this may be removal of the affected fallopian tube only to enable organ preservation but if the cancer has spread beyond the fallopian tube a radical hysterectomy bilateral salphingo-oophorectomy (removal of the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes and part of the cervix) is usually performed.
More extensive surgery may be required for more advanced disease.
Radiotherapy is rarely used to treat fallopian tube cancer. It may be used palliatively to treat symptoms if disease recurs after surgery and chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy is post-operatively if not all the disease could be removed or if there is thought to be a risk of spread o recurrence. Frequently used chemotherapy drugs are carboplatin, cisplatin and taxol.
Occasionally treatment may include using hormonal drugs such as tamoxifen or letrozole as part of the treatment.