Your browser does not support javascript:   Search for gard hereSearch for news-and-events here.

Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Print friendly version

Fallopian tube cancer


Other Names for this Disease
  • Cancer of the fallopian tube
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.

Overview

Fallopian tube cancer develops in the tubes that connect a woman's ovaries and uterus. It is very rare and accounts for only 1-2% of all gynecologic cancers

Fallopian tube cancer occurs when normal cells in one or both tubes change and grow in an uncontrolled way, forming a mass called a tumor. Cancer can begin in any of the different cell types that make up the fallopian tubes. The most common type is called adenocarcinoma (a cancer of cells from glands). Leiomyosarcoma (a cancer of smooth muscle cells) and transitional cell carcinoma (a cancer of the cells lining the fallopian tubes) are more rare. 

While some fallopian tube cancers actually begin in the tubes themselves, fallopian tube cancer is more often the result of cancer spreading from other parts of the body to the tubes. For example, the fallopian tubes are a common site of metastasis (spread) of cancers that started in the ovaries, uterus, endometrium, (the tissue lining the uterus) appendix, or colon. 

Women with fallopian tube cancer may experience symptoms, although some affected women may have no symptoms at all. The signs of fallopian tube cancer are often non-specific, meaning that they can also be signs of other medical conditions that are not cancer. Signs and symptoms of fallopian tube cancer can include: irregular or heavy vaginal bleeding (especially after menopause); occasional abdominal or pelvic pain or feeling of pressure; vaginal discharge that may be clear, white, or tinged with blood; and a pelvic mass or lump.

Doctors use many tests to diagnose cancer of the fallopian tubes. Some of these tests may include: pelvic examination, transvaginal ultrasound, a blood test that measures the tumor marker CA-125, computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Fallopian tube cancer can be best treated when detected early. If the cancer has spread to the walls of the tubes or outside of the tubes, then there is a lower chance that the disease can be treated successfully. The stage of the cancer determines the type of treatment needed. Most women will need surgery and some will go on to have chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. [1] [2]
Last updated: 5/6/2015

References

  1. University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center. Fallopian Tube Cancer. http://www.ucsfhealth.org/conditions/fallopian_tube_cancer/. Accessed 5/6/2015.
  2. American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO): Cancer.Net. Fallopian Tube Cancer: Overview. 07/2013; http://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/fallopian-tube-cancer/overview. Accessed 5/6/2015.
Your Questions Answered
by the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center

Please contact us with your questions about Fallopian tube cancer. We will answer your question and update these pages with new resources and information.

Basic Information

  • Cancer.net provides oncologist-approved cancer information from the American Society of Clinical Oncology and has information about Fallopian tube cancer.
  • The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library provides information on this condition for patients and caregivers. 
  • The National Cancer Institute provides the most current information on cancer for patients, health professionals, and the general public.

In Depth Information

  • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Fallopian tube cancer. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.
Other Names for this Disease
  • Cancer of the fallopian tube
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.