Fallopian Tube Cancer - Symptoms, Causes, Stages and Treatment
Fallopian tube cancer is a common form of cancer in women with BRCA gene mutation. This cancer type is generally epithelial with histology of papillary serous similar to ovarian cancer.
Ignoring the early symptoms of this cancer can gradually lead to the removal of the reproductive system.
Keep reading to learn about the signs of fallopian tube cancer and treatment procedure.
What Is Fallopian Tube Cancer?
Fallopian tube cancer occurs in the tubes or oviducts carrying the eggs from the ovaries to the uterus.
These eggs are released monthly, and they pass out from the body with menstrual blood or get fertilised by sperm.
Cases of fallopian cancer are rare and uncommon. There are only 1500-2000 cases of fallopian cancer reported globally as of now.
Let’s check who are at higher risk of developing this cancer variant. This will help individuals keep a tab on their bodily changes and consult an oncologist at the earliest.
Who Is at Risk of Developing Fallopian Cancer?
Women of all ages are always at a risk of suffering from fallopian tube cancer. However, women aged over 50 are more prone to this cancer form. It is commonly found in Caucasian women without children.
There have been cases of women aged over 60 diagnosed with fallopian cancer. Nevertheless, certain conditions increase the risk of fallopian cancer. These are -
- Early menopause or menstrual cycle
- Mutation of BRCA gene
- History of breast cancer
- Hormone replacement treatment
- Genetic disorders, such as Peutz Jeghers and lynch syndrome
Individuals with the mentioned conditions should look out for fallopian cancer symptoms and start treatment at the earliest. This will help prevent cancer from metastasis or spreading to other organs.
Symptoms of Fallopian Tube Cancer
Individuals should know that the symptoms of oviduct cancer are unpredictable and unclear. It is beneficial to consult a gynaecologist in cases of irregular menstruation or abnormalities.
Nevertheless, these are some common symptoms of fallopian cancer in women.
- Irregular period
- Back pain
- Bleeding from the vagina apart from menstruation or after menopause
- Swelling in lower abdomen
- Pain in lower belly
- Painful intercourse
- Watery or white vaginal discharge
Females diagnosed with any of the mentioned fallopian tube cancer symptoms and signs should consult a doctor to find the causes.
This will help them plan the right treatment approach or medications.
What Are the Causes of Fallopian Tube Cancer?
The exact cause of fallopian cancer is unidentifiable. However, this cancer starts at a part of the body and gradually spreads to the fallopian tube. This is usually in the metastasis state due to the growth of abnormal cells.
This cancer mostly starts in adenocarcinomas which are gland cells. It can also originate from the sarcomas or connective tissues.
However, certain conditions such as infertility, lack of breastfeeding, and non-consumption of birth control pills can also increase the risk of fallopian tube cancer.
Females with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer are prone to this cancer. Genetic mutations of BRCA gene can be a cause of fallopian cancer.
Let’s look at the stages of fallopian cancer to have a detailed understanding of this cancer type.
Different Stages of Fallopian Tube Cancer
The staging of fallopian tube cancer is based on the extent of infection. An oncologist detects the size of tumours and the organs to which it has spread.
They use the FIGO system to stage fallopian tube cancer. There are four stages based on the health conditions. A higher stage indicates that cancer has spread to other areas.
Cancerous cells or tumours are present inside a fallopian tube.
Cancer has developed in both fallopian tubes. In this stage, cancer has spread to the pelvic region.
In this stage, cancer has been found in a fallopian tube and has spread to the pelvic region and nearby lymph nodes.
This cancer has spread beyond the pelvic area and infected other organs.
Can One Conceive After Being Diagnosed With Fallopian Tube Cancer?
Women in their childbearing years are capable of giving birth after being diagnosed and adequately treated. However, pregnancy becomes difficult if the cancer is in the fourth stage, where reproductive organs, such as fallopian tubes, ovaries, and uterus, are removed.
The treatment procedure comprises chemotherapy, which can also damage these organs and lead to early menopause. Besides, removal of one ovary and fallopian tube makes conceiving impossible.
In this regard, individuals can freeze their embryos and eggs before surgery. Here, they should consult a doctor about pregnancy with fallopian tube cancer.
Recommended Treatments for Fallopian Tube Cancer
Here are the standard treatment procedures for fallopian tube cancer.
- Oncologists suggest removing the uterus, ovary and fallopian tube as a treatment.
- Treatments, including chemotherapy, shrink the tumours or destroy cancerous cells before and after surgery.
- A surgeon gives intraoperative peritoneal chemotherapy (heated) during surgery. This allows higher drug concentration in the abdomen.
- A salpingo-oophorectomy surgery can reduce the risk of cancer due to mutation
- To stop the cancer cell growth, oncologists suggest targeted therapy. This minimises damages to healthy cells.
Doctors and scientists are still researching ways to cure fallopian cancer completely.
How to Prevent Fallopian Tube Cancer?
It is impossible to prevent or stop cancer. However, individuals can practice specific ways for early diagnosis and prevention.
- Quit smoking and alcohol consumption
- Consume a healthy and balanced diet
- Exercise and weight loss
- Consume hormonal birth control pills
- Breastfeed, if possible
- Opt for hormone-based IUD
However, it is beneficial to consult a medical practitioner about hormone pills and contraception as it increases breast cancer risk in some people.
This is some vital information on Fallopian tube cancer and treatment procedure. Individuals with a family history of fallopian tube, ovary or breast cancer should undergo a genetic test. This would help in early diagnosis.