If you have Fallopian tube cancer, it is important to get a concise diagnosis as soon as possible. This helps increase your chances for successful treatment. However, diagnosing Fallopian tube cancer can be challenging because:
- It is a rare type of cancer
- Symptoms are vague and like those of other conditions
- Finding cancer inside the Fallopian tube is difficult
Fallopian Tube Diagnostic Tests
If you have symptoms that may signal Fallopian tube cancer, your doctor will examine you and ask you questions about your health and your family medical history. A pelvic examination will be done to feel your uterus, ovaries, Fallopian tubes and vagina. If a mass is found, your doctor will do more tests.
One or more of the following tests may be used to find out if you have Fallopian tube cancer and if it has spread. These tests also may be used to find out if treatment is working. Imaging tests, which may include:
- Ultrasound of the pelvis
- Transvaginal ultrasound (a special wand inserted in the vagina gives off ultrasound waves)
- CT or CAT (computed axial tomography) scans
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans
- Biopsy: Cells are removed from the Fallopian tubes and looked at under a microscope. This is the only way to be sure if you have Fallopian tube cancer. It usually requires surgery.
- CA125 test: This blood test checks the levels of CA125, a known tumor marker for gynecologic diseases. A high level of CA125 may mean you should have more tests, but it does not always mean you have Fallopian tube cancer.
If you are diagnosed with Fallopian tube cancer, your doctor will determine the stage of the disease. Staging is a way of classifying how much disease is in the body and where it has spread when it is diagnosed. This information helps your doctor plan the best type of treatment for you.
(Source: American Cancer Society)
Stage I: The tumor is limited to one or both Fallopian tubes.
Stage II: The tumor:
- Involves one or both tubes
- Has spread to the pelvic area and/or the uterus, ovary or other pelvic tissues
Stage III: The tumor:
- Involves one or both tubes and the pelvis
- Has spread to the abdominal cavity and/or nearby lymph nodes
Stage IV: The cancer has spread to the lung, liver or other distant organs.
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