Fallopian Tube Cancer can be defined as the proliferation of uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the fallopian tube. It is one of the rarest forms of gynaecological cancer and is more common in older women who have already reached menopause. Also Read: Cervical Cancer: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
Fallopian tubes are small ducts that connect the uterus on either side to the ovaries. During a woman’s monthly ovulation, typically an egg is released from one of the ovaries and travels through the fallopian tube. On the advent, that the egg gets fertilized due to sperm, it leads to conception and if not, it passes out of the body with the menstrual flow.
Although thought to be rare, after various researches, it can be deduced that most uterine cancers actually start from the fallopian tubes and later spread downwards. Cancer cells arising in the fallopian tubes begin in the outer end of the tube, near the fimbria, which is where the opening of the tube is located and where eggs released from the ovary enters to be fertilized. Also Read: Uterine Fibroids: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
Fallopian Tube cancer generally occurs when cells lining the fallopian tube changes and no longer grow or behave normally. This uninhibited growth of abnormal cells piles up to form cancerous tumours. With time, when the tumour grows, it presses on the tube, stretching it and causing severe pain.
Although the exact cause of fallopian tube cancer is yet unknown, certain risk factors increase the chance of getting it, these include:
- Women in their 50’s or 60’s years are prone to fallopian tube cancer
- Inherited gene, e.g. BRCA gene
- Never had children
- Long-lasting infection of the reproductive tract
Types Of Fallopian Tube Cancer
Cancerous cells can originate in any of the different types of cells present in the fallopian tube, but the most common types are Epithelial Carcinoma.
It makes up to 80% to 90% of fallopian tube cancers. The main types of epithelial tumours include Endometrioid, Clear Cell, Serous, Mucinous, Mixed Tumours, And Several Rare Malignancies, Including Brenner Tumours. Most of the epithelial cancers are serous, i.e. they look like the cells lining the fallopian tubes. This type of fallopian tube cancer spreads easily and can even cause uterine cancer.
Other rare types of fallopian tube cancer include Endometrioid Carcinoma, Clear Cell Carcinoma, Adenosquamous Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC), And Sarcoma.
Fallopian tube cancer being asymptomatic in most cases has close to no symptoms at the earlier stages. Signs and symptoms developing in the later stages include:
- Lump in the lower abdomen
- Swelling and pain in the lower abdomen
- A feeling of pressure against the bowel or bladder as in the case of dysuria
- The sensation that the bowel or bladder can’t be fully emptied
- Unusual vaginal bleeding unrelated to menstruation
- White, clear, or pink vaginal discharge
Diagnosis And Treatment
It is strongly advocated to visit the doctor if you feel or notice any of the above-mentioned signs and symptoms. The Gynaecologist usually acknowledges the patient’s past medical history, followed by a thorough physical check-up to feel the presence of any lumps or tender spots to analyse the originating point of the pain. The doctor also does a series of tests including:
- Blood Tests
- Abdominal Pelvic Examination
- Transvaginal Ultrasounds
- Other imaging techniques like CT-scan, PET-CT scan and MRI
- Molecular Testing
Stages Of Thyroid Cancer
Stage 1: The growth of the tumour is inside only one or both fallopian tubes.
Stage 2: Cancer has spread inside one or both fallopian tubes and has also spread further into the pelvis.
Stage 3: In this stage, the cancer cells have spread to areas outside the pelvis and has also moved into the lymph nodes.
Stage 4: It is the advanced stage of cancer, where the cancerous cells have spread to other parts of the body outside the abdomen and pelvis including various organs.
Treatment options usually depend on the type and stage of fallopian tube cancer. In most cases, the doctor performs a surgical procedure to remove the fallopian tube to prevent it from further spreading.
- Surgery: This includes Salpingo-oophorectomy, Total Hysterectomy, Lymphadenectomy i.e. Lymph node dissection, Omentectomy, Cytoreductive or Debulking surgery
- Radiation Therapy
- Hormone Therapy
- Targeted Therapy