Fallopian tube

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What is fallopian tube cancer?

Fallopian tube cancer starts in the cells of the fallopian tubes. A cancerous (malignant) tumour is a group of cancer cells that can grow into and destroy nearby tissue. It can also spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.

Cells in a fallopian tube sometimes change and no longer grow or behave normally. In some cases, these changes can cause cancer.

Cancer can start from any of the different types of cells inside the fallopian tubes. Most often,fallopian tube cancer starts in glandular cells, which are cells in the lining of the fallopian tube. This type of cancer is called adenocarcinoma of the fallopian tube and is similar to serous carcinoma of the ovary. Many serous carcinomas previously labelled as ovarian cancers are now thought to start from cells of the nearby fallopian tube that have implanted and grown on the surface of the ovary.

Rare types of fallopian tube cancer can also develop. These include clear cell carcinoma, endometrioid carcinoma, adenosquamous carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and sarcoma.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell if a tumour in a fallopian tube actually started there. Ovarian cancers can spread to the fallopian tubes and form tumours there. Treatments for ovarian and fallopian tube cancer are similar.

The fallopian tubes

The fallopian tubes are part of a woman’s reproductive system. The 2 fallopian tubes are on either side of the uterus. During the menstrual cycle, an ovary releases an egg. The egg travels through the fallopian tube from the ovary to the inside of the uterus.

Diagram of the female reproductive system