Fallopian tube cancer affects the narrow passage where fertilisation takes place. It can lead to ectopic pregnancy and various reproductive complications, including carcinoma in other parts of the uterus.
A rare condition, fallopian tube cancer is hard to detect manually, given its similarity with menstrual issues. Patients experiencing unexplained discharge or prolonged lower abdominal pain must visit a gynaecologist to get checked for potential carcinoma infection in the fallopian tube.
We discuss the facts about this cancer, signs, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more below.
Fallopian tube cancer: Facts patients need to know
Fallopian tube cancer is the rarest among ovarian cancer (1%), comprising around 2000 cases worldwide. However, it accounts for nearly 70% of epithelial carcinoma.
A treatable condition, early detection of cancerous presence in the fallopian tube can almost lead to complete cure.
What is fallopian tube cancer?
The fallopian tubes comprise hollow muscular channels acting as a pathway between the ovaries and the uterus. It has an extensive role in the healthy fertilisation of sperm with eggs.
Fallopian tube cancer leads to abnormal cell functioning along the muscular walls of the tubal system.
Individuals with ovarian and uterine cancer are most prone to develop fallopian tube carcinoma. It can also happen in patients infected with STDs (chlamydia). Fallopian tube cancer is a non-communicable illness, but it may express in individuals with silent BRCA genes upon mutation.
How many types of fallopian tube cancer exist?
Fallopian tube cancer is further classified based on the pattern of carcinoma along the muscular tubes. It comprises:
- Endometrioid adenocarcinoma (cancer present in the endometrium wall).
- Leiomyosarcoma (cancer growth in the smooth muscle of the uterus).
- Serous adenocarcinoma (the most common form of fallopian tube cancer).
There are 4-stages of fallopian tube cancer based on the progression of the infection. It includes:
- Stage I (cancer limited to one or both fallopian tubes).
- Stage II (cancer limited to the pelvic region).
- Stage III (cancer has spread beyond the pelvic organs).
- Stage IV (cancer has spread all across the body).
What causes fallopian tube cancer?
Fallopian tube cancer causes serious harm to the smooth tissue layer of the endometrium present across the uterine wall. Physicians consider this cancer a side-effect of pre-existing ovarian carcinoma or a mutated activation triggered by proto-oncogenes (BRCA).
Here are the potential reasons that can lead to fallopian tube carcinoma:
- Patients with breast or ovarian cancer.
- Side effects of hormonal therapy.
- Presence of proto-oncogenes (BRCA).
- Patients with auto-immune conditions (lynch and Peutz-Jeghers syndrome).
- Patients with cancer in family history.
Fallopian tube cancer syndrome: How to recognise this rare carcinoma?
Fallopian tube cancer shows signs similar to reproductive issues (PCOS, menstrual problems). Physicians suggest patients experiencing unexplained abdominal discomfort, sudden vaginal discharge, or acute pain during sexual intercourse get diagnosed for potential fallopian tube issues.
The signs showing underlying cancer are:
- Unexplained lower back discomfort.
- Irregular menstrual cycle.
- Abdominal upset like constipating, pelvic infection.
- Lump or tumour outgrowth in the lower abdominal region.
- Unexplained vaginal bleeding and colourless discharge (outside the menstrual cycle).
- Frequent micturition.
- A sudden feeling of fullness.
It’s important to know the signs for early detection and diagnosis.
What methods help perform fallopian tube cancer diagnosis?
Fallopian tube cancer causes severe discomfort in the later stages of the infection. Individuals experiencing unexplained gynaecological issues should visit a physician to undergo a preliminary examination. Next, a specialist such as a gynaecologist may suggest the following diagnostic methods for carcinoma confirmation.
- Imagery analysis of the underlying infection (CT scan, MRI, PET, USG, and X-ray).
- Pathological examination of blood to detect CA125 (confirmatory protein denoting carcinoma) proto-oncogenes (BRCA) that can mutate to trigger fallopian tube cancer.
- Fluid analysis from the potential site of infection if the patient experiences ascites (fluid collection in the abdomen).
- Tissue culture of the site of infection to detect potential cancerous activity (biopsy).
Once diagnosed, the patient will be briefed about treatment options, which we discuss in the next section.
What fallopian tube cancer treatment provides relief against underlying carcinoma?
Fallopian tube cancer is among the most treatable carcinoma. While patients often visit a gynaecologist during the later stage of the carcinoma, the stage 3 fallopian tube cancer survival rate is 93% for localised infection.
Check out the latest treatment methods that help provide relief upon fallopian tube cancer diagnosis below.
- Surgical procedures (hysterectomy and Salpingo-oophorectomy) to remove the infected mass of the fallopian tube.
- Chemotherapy treatment to reduce the size of the carcinoma infection, and later removing it using surgery.
- Targeted carcinoma therapy to kill the infected tissue mass while leaving the surrounding healthy cells unharmed.
- Palliative care provides robust mental support to the patient during fallopian tube cancer treatment.
How can patients prevent fallopian tube cancer?
Fallopian tube cancer mostly happens in individuals with a family history of carcinoma or as a relapse among former cancer survivors. Doctors recommend such individuals undergo cancer screening to find the potential risk of developing it.
Besides, lifestyle also plays a supportive role in cancer management. Here are tips borderline individuals should follow:
- Do not overexploit hormonal birth control methods.
- Get scanned for underlying proto-oncogene.
- Quit smoking/alcohol and potential triggers of carcinoma.
- Follow a preventive lifestyle regime as recommended by the physician.
- Visit a gynaecologist to resolve potential reproductive issues.
- Breast-feeding recommended for nursing mothers.
Fallopian tube cancer is a curable condition depending on the stage of the underlying carcinoma. However, women can still conceive naturally if one fallopian tube gets infected. Physicians recommend individuals with a history of carcinoma visit a specialist for prompt detection through regular screening.
Fallopian tube cancer causes emotional trauma in young women, given its proximity to getting pregnant. Thanks to ART, getting pregnant with carcinoma is not an issue. Targeted approach, customised treatment and counselling with compassionate care is how our team of oncologists deal with such rare cases.
We recommend such patients to get screened at the nearest CK Birla Hospital to treat the underlying health concerns in the best possible manner under our best gynaecologist, Dr Prof. Amit Javed.