Fallopian Tube Cancer

Note: The information on cancer types on the ACRF website is not designed to provide medical or professional advice and is for information only. If you have any health problems or questions please consult your doctor.

  • What is Fallopian Tube Cancer?

    Fallopian Tube Cancer is a cancer that arises from one or both of the fallopian tubes. The fallopian tubes are the tubular structures which connect the upper, outer-most part of the uterus with the ovary and provide a means for fertilisation of the female egg.

    Cancer of the fallopian tube is rare. Primary fallopian tube cancer accounts for less than half of one percent of all cancers in Australian women.

    Although fallopian tube cancer is rare, treatment is similar in many respects to treatment for ovarian cancer.

  • Types of fallopian tube cancer

    There are two types of fallopian tube cancer:

    • Papillary serous adenocarcinomas. The vast majority (more than 95%) of fallopian tube cancers are papillary serous adenocarcinomas. These cancers grow from cells that line the fallopian tubes that have become abnormal. When the cells begin to divide abnormally and gain the ability to invade other organs or spread to other parts of the body, tumours may form.
    • Leiomyosarcomas and transitional cell carcinomas. Very occasionally, tumours can form from smooth muscle in the fallopian tubes, in which case they are called sarcomas (leiomyosarcomas), or from other cells that line the fallopian tubes, in which case they are called transitional cell carcinomas.
  • Fallopian tube cancer symptoms

    Fallopian tube cancer symptoms include:

    • Increasing swelling of the lower abdomen without weight gain elsewhere which does not improve with diet or exercise.
    • A lump or mass in the abdomen, especially the lower abdomen.
    • Lower abdominal/pelvic pain that does not settle quickly and simply.
    • Feelings of pressure on the bowel or bladder and a feeling that the bowel or bladder cannot be completely emptied.
    • Abnormal bleeding or discharge from the vagina, especially bleeding after menopause.

    If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, visit your doctor for a check-up. It is important to remember that most women with any of these symptoms will not have fallopian tube cancer.

  • Fallopian tube cancer treatment

    There are generally two types of treatment used for cancer of the fallopian tubes: surgery and chemotherapy. Radiotherapy and hormonal therapy may sometimes be used.

    The extent of the cancer will determine the type of surgery needed.

    However, what is generally required is a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus), and removal of both fallopian tubes and both ovaries (a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy).

    The omentum (a protective apron of fatty tissue over the abdominal organs) is also usually removed, and multiple biopsies will be taken.

    For advanced fallopian tube cancer (i.e. Stage 3), bowel resections may be required. This is an operation for the removal of a length of bowel (either the large bowel or the small bowel).

    Chemotherapy will usually be given after surgery for fallopian tube cancer.

Cancer Statistics

  • 1 in 4

    women will be diagnosed with cancer before the age of 75

  • 54%

    of women aged 50–74 participated in breast screening programs

  • 68.7%

    is the estimated 5-year survival rate for women with cancer

Together we can change the statistics and
outsmart cancer for good

REFERENCES

Cancer in Australia 2017, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

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