Causes Of Fallopian Tube Cancer
Genes, Infections And Endometriosis Links Discussed

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cause of fallopian tube cancer

Fallopian Tube Cancer Causes


What Causes Fallopian Tube Cancer?
Chronic Infections

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Fallopian Tube Cancer
What Causes Fallopian Tube Cancer?

Doctors do not know what causes fallopian tube cancer. The fact that primary fallopian tube cancer it is so rare makes research more difficult. Primary means that the cancer originates in the fallopian tubes. Most women who suffer from cancer of the fallopian tubes are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. This means that cancer started in their ovaries but subsequently spread to one or both fallopian tubes. When this occurs, it is known as primary ovarian cancer which has spread (metastasized) into secondary fallopian tube cancer.

There are some possible risk factors that may increase your risk of primary fallopian cancer. These include:-

Genetics: BRAC1 and BRAC2 Mutations

Studies show that between 16 and 44 percent of women who develop primary fallopian tube cancer carry the same genetic mutations (BRAC1 and BRAC2) as those linked to both breast cancer and ovarian cancer. These mutations are genetic, which means they are passed from mother to daughter. Women with BRAC mutations are also more likely to develop cancer at an earlier age. If there is a history of breast or ovarian cancer in your family, your doctor may refer you to a genetic counselor for BRAC genetic testing. If it turns out you are positive for the BRAC1 or BRAC2 mutations it does not mean you will definitely develop cancer, only that your risks are higher than a woman who does not. It does however mean you should be rigorously screened for gynecological cancers on a regular basis. Certain steps may also be recommended to reduce your overall risk. For example, taking oral contraceptive pills may reduce your risk of fallopian tube cancer. And women (once childbearing is complete) will be offered a prophylactic hysterectomy (oophorectomy). This means surgically removing the womb, ovaries and fallopian tube to prevent them turning cancerous.

Chronic Infections

There are some findings which have shown an association with chronic infection and/or inflammation of the fallopian tubes and primary fallopian tube cancer. In most instances tubal infection is caused by an untreated sexually transmitted disease (STD). Tubal cancer has been linked to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), an infection of the reproductive organs caused primarily by the STDs gonorrhea and chlamydia. Nearly one million American women develop PID every year, although countless others probably have it but remain undiagnosed. Symptoms of PID are sometimes so mild they go unnoticed. When they do appear they are likely to cause pain and tenderness in the abdomen, back pain, foul smelling vaginal discharge and pain during sexual intercourse or when urinating. There may be pain on one side of the abdomen if a fallopian tube develops an abscess.


Endometriosis is a condition where fragments of the womb end up in other parts of the body instead of being shed during a monthly menstrual bleed (known as retrograde menstruation). It develops in about 10 to 15 percent of women of reproductive age and is likely to cause the back up of menstrual tissue into the fallopian tubes. While endometriosis is benign (non-cancerous) it can cause irritation and inflammation of the fallopian tubes and ovaries. It may increase the risk of both cancer of the ovaries and fallopian tubes. Even if cancer does not start in the fallopian tubes, the tubes can act as a conduit (passage) for the endometrial tissue to reach the ovaries. In fact some researchers are now advocating prophylactic salpingectomy (removal of healthy fallopian tubes) in women with high risks of ovarian cancer and who are finished having children (although the womb is left in place so pregnancy via IVF is still possible). If there is no conduit, infections and bacteria cannot reach the ovaries, significantly reducing the risk of cancer.

Related Articles
Causes of cancer: How cancer forms, general article.
Fallopian tube cancer prevention: How to reduce your risk of developing this disease.

  Related Articles on Fallopian Tube Cancer

For more information, see the following:

Fallopian tube cancer survival rates: Prognosis and survival.
Symptoms of fallopian tube cancer: Vaginal discharge and pain.
Fallopian tube cancer diagnosis: Diagnostic tests.
Hospital departments explained: A to Z of departments.

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