Fallopian Tube Cancer
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What is Fallopian Tube Cancer?
Fallopian tube cancer begins in a woman's fallopian tubes, the small ducts that link a woman's ovaries to her uterus. The fallopian tubes are a part of a woman's reproductive system and every woman has two fallopian tubes, one located on each side of the uterus.
Fallopian tube cancer begins when cells in one or both fallopian tubes change and grow uncontrollably, forming a mass called a tumor. A tumor can be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous, meaning it can spread to other parts of the body). Cancer may begin in any of the different cell types that make up the fallopian tubes, and the most common type is 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 less common.
As a tumor in the fallopian tube grows, it can push against the walls of the tube and cause abdominal pain. If untreated, the cancer can spread into and through the walls of the fallopian tubes and eventually into the pelvis (lower abdomen) and stomach areas.
Treatment Options for Fallopian Tube Cancer
When fallopian tube cancer is detected early, it is usually curable. Initial treatment with surgery or radiation has been found to be equally successful; however, more women opt for surgery.
Surgery is extremely successful for women whose cancer is isolated to the uterus. The procedure, a hysterectomy, involves removal of the uterus, including the cervix, with lymph node dissection to determine the extent of the disease. For women with advanced disease, chemotherapy or hormonal therapy with radiation can reduce the risk of recurrence (the cancer coming back).
Hysterectomies are often performed using robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgery, which is minimally invasive. This translates to shorter hospital stays, speedier recovery and fewer complications than associated with traditional surgery (through the abdomen).