Fallopian tube cancer is a malignant tumor that develops directly from the tissue of the fallopian tubes. It is also called tubal cancer. There are many types, but over 95% of the fallopian tube cancers are papillary serous adenocarcinomas; a small percentage are sarcomas.
Asymptomatically, the tumor continues to grow without impairing the life of the patient. This can go on for years, and then symptoms strike when the woman least expects the disease. Fallopian tube cancer symptoms or warning signs often go unnoticed or taken for other medical conditions at the beginning. Common indications of the tumor include fatigue, pain, urinary tract infections, and others. For more information, please see fallopian tube cancer symptoms.
The fallopian tubes, also called uterine tubes, are two long narrow canals of the female genital tract which connect the ovaries to the uterus. They are important components of the female reproductive system which include many organs such as the uterus, the ovaries, and fallopian tubes. Their main role is to welcome the oocyte from the ovary, and then lead it to the uterus. It is in the fallopian tubes that fertilization usually occurs.
The cancer tends to appear as a vegetating mass, variable dimensions, with hemorrhagic and necrotic areas (growth beyond the tumor’s blood supply) that occupy the fallopian tube tissue at first and then locally invade the uterus, ovary and surrounding tissue. The spread is done by direct extension, invasion of cancer cells to the peritoneum, as in epithelial ovarian cancer, or through lymphatic circulation.
Primary cancer of the fallopian tubes is rare, account for about 1 in 500 cases of cancer worldwide. Overall, it is estimate that approximately 1,200 cases plus about 20 new cases added each year, which indicates the cancer is increasing. Fallopian tube cancer treatment is almost the same in all cases: surgical therapy. Presence or absence of extrapelvic tumors and lymph node metastases help the health provider team to decide complementary treatments or not: chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and others. For additional information, please see fallopian tube cancer treatment.
Average age of patients diagnosed with this cancer is 50-60 years old, and is more common in white women than in black or in oriental women. Risk factors are not well defined; however, chronic inflammatory disease or other inflammatory diseases, such as tuberculosis (TB) are possible etiological factors. In addition, the tumor is diagnosed mainly in patients with a high incidence of infertility. For additional information, please see fallopian tube cancer causes.
Etiologically, sexual transmitted diseases (STDs) which can lead to infertility could also be factors responsible for tubal cancer. The tumor is associated with pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and other tubal diseases such as tuberculosis, pseudoangiomatous hyperplasia and endometriosis as well as uterine and ovarian benign and malignant tumors.