Fallopian tube
cancer

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Stages of fallopian tube cancer

Staging describes or classifies a cancer based on how much cancer there is in the body and where it is when first diagnosed. This is often called the extent of cancer. Information from tests is used to find out the size of the tumour, which parts of the organ have cancer, whether the cancer has spread from where it first started and where the cancer has spread. Your healthcare team uses the stage to plan treatment and estimate the outcome (your prognosis).

The most common staging system for fallopian tube cancer is the FIGO system. For fallopian tube cancer there are 4 stages. Often the stages 1 to 4 are written as the Roman numerals I, II, III and IV. Generally, the higher the stage number, the more the cancer has spread. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about staging.

Fallopian tube cancer is staged during surgery to remove the fallopian tubes and as much as possible of the cancer that has spread. All tissues removed will be tested for cancer. The stage is based on the results of the tests. Some women who appear to have early stage disease (stage 1) may be given a higher stage after complete surgical staging.

Find out more about staging cancer.

Stage 1

The tumour is inside only 1 fallopian tube or both fallopian tubes.

For stage 1A, the tumour is inside only 1 fallopian tube.

For stage 1B, tumours are inside both fallopian tubes.

For stage 1C, the tumour is inside 1 fallopian tube or tumours are in both fallopian tubes with any of the following:

  • Cancer cells leaked into the abdomen and pelvis during surgery (called a surgical spill).
  • Cancer cells are on the surface of 1 or both fallopian tubes.
  • Cancer cells are in ascites or peritoneal washings (a saltwater solution used to wash the peritoneal cavity and check for cancer cells at the time of surgery).

Stage 2

The cancer is inside 1 fallopian tube or both fallopian tubes and has grown into the pelvis.

For stage 2A, the tumour has grown into the uterus or ovaries or both.

For stage 2B, the tumour has grown into other organs in the lower part of the pelvis, such as the rectum.

Stage 3

The cancer is in 1 or both fallopian tubes. The cancer has spread to areas outside the pelvis.

For stage 3A, the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in the back of the abdomen (retroperitoneal lymph nodes). Or a small amount of cancer (seen only through a microscope) has spread to the peritoneum outside the pelvis and to the intestine, and it may have spread to the retroperitoneal lymph nodes.

For stage 3B, a large amount of cancer (seen by the doctor during surgery) has spread to the peritoneum just outside the pelvis and to the intestine, and it may have spread to the retroperitoneal lymph nodes.

For stage 3C, the cancer has spread to the peritoneum outside the pelvis and far from it (more than 2 cm away). It may have grown to the capsule surrounding the liver or spleen, but not inside these organs.

Stage 4

The cancer has spread to other parts of the body (called distant metastasis) outside the abdomen and pelvis.

For stage 4A, there are cancer cells in fluid buildup within the pleural cavity (called pleural effusion).

For stage 4B, the cancer has spread to other organs, such as the liver (inside it), lungs or lymph nodes outside the abdomen.

Recurrent fallopian tube cancer

Recurrent fallopian tube cancer means that the cancer has come back after it has been treated. If it comes back in the same place that the cancer first started or close to where it started, it’s called local recurrence. It can also recur in another part of the body. This is called distant metastasis or distant recurrence.

ascites

Abnormal buildup of fluid in the abdomen.

peritoneal cavity

The space between the parietal peritoneum (the membrane that lines the walls of the abdomen and pelvis) and the visceral peritoneum (the membrane that covers and supports most of the abdominal organs).

intestine

The long, tube-shaped organ in the abdomen that receives partially digested food from the stomach, absorbs nutrients, prepares waste (stool or feces) and passes it out of the body through the anus.

The intestine is made up of the small intestine and the large intestine.

Also called the bowel.

pleural cavity

The space between the lungs and the walls of the chest that is lined by the pleura.

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