The fallopian tubes are part of a woman’s reproductive system and link the ovaries to the uterus (womb). It’s very rare for cancer to start in the fallopian tubes. Only 1% of cancers appear in the fallopian tubes, although there is a suspicion that some percentage of ovarian cancers actually appear from the end part of the fallopian tube.

What is fallopian tube cancer?

Most cancers that affect the fallopian tubes actually start somewhere else – usually in an ovary, breast, or the lining of the uterus (endometrium). This is known as secondary cancer. The most common kind of fallopian tube cancer is adenocarcinoma. Other rarer types include transitional cell and sarcoma.

Causes of fallopian cancer

No one knows why women get fallopian tube cancer. But it’s more likely if you:

  • Are over 50
  • Don’t have children
  • Have close family members with ovarian, breast, endometrial or colorectal cancer
  • Have had a long-term infection of your reproductive system
  • Have Lynch syndrome
  • Inherited a faulty gene (such as BRCA1 or BRCA2)

Symptoms of fallopian tube cancer

In the early stages you may have no signs at all but, as the tumour grows, there may be:

Abnormal bleeding (between periods or after your menopause)

Pain or swelling in your abdomen

Vaginal discharge (watery or bloody)

Having one or more of these signs doesn’t mean you have cancer but it’s best to ask your doctor for advice. The sooner your cancer is detected, the better the chances of treating it successfully.

Tests and diagnosis

Fallopian tube cancer can be challenging to diagnose. Sometimes it’s not discovered until it’s quite advanced. Your doctor will ask about your family history and examine your abdomen to feel for lumps or tenderness. You may also have an internal examination. If your doctor thinks you may have fallopian tube cancer, you’ll be referred to a specialist. Tests may include:

  • Blood test
  • Biopsy using laparoscopy (keyhole surgery) or guided biopsy to take a tiny sample of tissue for testing
  • Scans including pelvic ultrasound, vaginal ultrasound, MRI or CT scan to check for any abnormalities

Treatment

There are options for treatment which your specialist doctor will discuss with you. These include: chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy.

Treatments we offer

Radiation therapy kills cancer cells. It’s used in the early stages of cancer treatment or after it has started to spread. It can also be used to relieve pain and discomfort from cancer that has spread.

Read more

Chemotherapy is medication that treats your cancer. The drugs kill cancer cells, preventing them from dividing and spreading further.

Read more

Radiation therapy kills cancer cells. It’s used in the early stages of cancer treatment or after it has started to spread. It can also be used to relieve pain and discomfort from cancer that has spread.

Read more

Chemotherapy is medication that treats your cancer. The drugs kill cancer cells, preventing them from dividing and spreading further.

Read more

Our cancer specialists