Treating Fallopian Cancer
Diagnosing fallopian cancer is very difficult, because symptoms are very similar to those of uterine cancer and ovarian cancer. If you are experiencing symptoms of fallopian cancer, you will probably undergo the following tests, to determine if there is cancer present.
Pelvic Exam: An internal pelvic exam will be performed by your health care provider. She will examine your uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and cervix for any abnormal masses.
Ultrasound: If a mass is located, your health care provider will probably give you an ultrasound. An ultrasound uses sound waves to create a picture of your fallopian tubes. This picture is then analyzed for cancer cells.
Surgery: Exploratory surgery is required in order to verify the presence of fallopian cancer. Your surgeon will look for any cancerous growths and try to determine the extent to which your cancer has spread.
Fallopian Cancer Treatment
There are no specific treatments for fallopian cancer. Most treatments that are used have been adapted from ovarian cancer treatments. Treatments include:
Surgery: This is the first step taken in treating fallopian cancer. It is important to remove as much cancer as possible so your fallopian tubes and ovaries will both be removed. Your uterus will also be removed in an operation called a hysterectomy. Your surgeon may also have to remove some of the connective tissue in your pelvis as well as your pelvic lymph nodes. The main side effect of this surgery is that you will no longer be able to have children. You will also enter into surgical menopause, which is often characterized by severe menopause symptoms.
Radiation: Radiation therapy is used after surgery in order to kill any remaining cancer cells. Radiation therapy uses high doses of radioactive materials in order to prevent cancer cells from reproducing. This causes tumors to shrink. Radiation therapy can be given internally, through injection, IV, or implants. It can also be given externally, via a radiation machine called a linear accelerator. Side effects include: nausea and fatigue.
Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is also used after surgery in order to kill off any remaining cancer cells. It uses a mixture of oral or injectable drugs. The most commonly used drugs for fallopian cancer treatment are Taxol and Platinol. Side effects include: nausea, loss of appetite, and hair loss.
The prognosis for women with fallopian cancer depends upon the stage at which they were diagnosed and the treatments they received. Generally, the five-year survival rate is higher the earlier you are treated. Stage 1 and 2 survival rates range from 60% to 90%. Unfortunately, these rates decline in Stages 3 and 4, with women having only a 25% 5-year survival rate.