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Fallopian Tube Cancer
The Female Body
|What Does My Doctor Mean By Staging?
If you have received a fallopian tube cancer diagnosis, doctors will want to learn as much about the type of tumor present so that they can treat it effectively. This means learning about how extensive the tumor is (cancer staging) and how aggressive it is likely to be (grading). This investigate work will be carried out in labs by a pathologist on biopsy tissues extracted during surgery. Staging a tumor is based on 3 points: Tumor Size (T), if it has spread to the lymph nodes (N) and whether it has spread to distant organs, known as metastasis (M). The next question oncologists will ask is 'by how much'? So for example a T1 tumor will be smaller than a T3 tumor. Some stages may be further divided into sub-groups to describe the tumor in even more detail. Doctors may also apply a histologic grade (G) to the disease. Doctors will use the letter 'G' and a number to identify how normal the cells look under microscope- the less closely they resemble healthy cells, the more aggressive they are likely to be. In general, the lower the grade the better the fallopian tube cancer survival rates.
GX: The grade of the tumor cannot be established.
G1: Cells look more like normal tissue cells (well differentiated).
G2: Cells are a little different (moderately differentiated).
G3: Cells of the tumor barely resemble normal cells (poorly differentiated).
G4: Tumor cells look nothing like normal cells (undifferentiated).
Check The Signs!
Symptoms of Fallopian Tube Cancer.
TNM Staging System Explained
The following is a description of the TNM system used to stage most cancers, as well as fallopian tube cancer.
Tumor Size (T)
The primary tumor cannot be evaluated.
There is no tumor but carcinoma in situ (pre-cancer) is present.
Tumor is limited to one or both fallopian tubes.
Tumor is limited to and contained in one fallopian tube. No sign of spread to the surface of the tube and no cancer cells found in abdominal fluid.
An encapsulated (self-contained) tumor is found in both fallopian tubes, but neither tumor is touching the tube surface. No cancer cells are found in the abdominal fluid (with peritoneal washings).
Either TIa or TIb but the capsule has burst (ruptured) or cancer has spread to the tube surface or cancerous cells are found in the abdominal washings.
Tumor found in one or both ovaries and has spread to the pelvis.
Tumor extensions or implants (areas of growth) are found on the uterus and/or ovaries. No cancerous cells found in the abdominal fluid.
Cancer has spread to other pelvic tissue but no signs are found in the abdominal fluid.
Tumor implants found in the pelvis but cancer cells are also in the abdominal washings.
Tumor involves one or both fallopian tubes. It has spread (metastasis) to the abdominal area outside the pelvis microscopically. This will require debulking surgery, a type of fallopian tube cancer treatment.
Microscopic metastasis found in the peritoneal area (tissues surrounding the organs in the abdomen) outside of the pelvis.
Metastasis up to 2cm in diameter is present outside the pelvis.
Metastasis more than 2cm in diameter present outside the pelvis.
Lymph Node Involvement (N)
Lymph nodes are tiny organs shaped like a bean which help the body fight infection. Nodes near the pelvis area are known as regional lymph nodes. Those in other parts of the body are called distant lymph nodes.
Regional lymph nodes cannot be checked for evaluation.
No cancer is found in the regional lymph nodes.
Cancer has spread to the pelvic lymph nodes.
This refers to whether or not cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
Metastasis cannot be checked for evaluation.
Cancer has not spread beyond the peritoneal area.
Cancer has spread beyond the peritoneal area.
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What Are The Stages Of Fallopian Tube Cancer?
TNM: T0, N0, M0
Carcinoma in situ
TNM: T1, N0, M0
Cancer restricted to one or both fallopian tubes.
TNM: T1a, N0, M0
Self contained tumor (encapsulated) in only 1 tube and cancer has not spread to pelvic lymph nodes or other parts of the body (metastasis).
TNM: T1b, N0, M0
Encapsulated tumor in both tubes but lymph nodes are unaffected and no signs of metastasis.
TNM: T1c, N0, M0
Cancer in fallopian tube(s). The capsule has ruptured or tumor has spread to the lining of the ovaries and is found in abdominal washings.
TNM: T2, N0, M0
Cancer has spread to one or both ovaries. It is found in the pelvis or abdominal fluid.
TNM: T2a, N0, M0
Tumor has spread to the ovaries or uterus but not to the pelvic lymph nodes or distant organs.
TNM: T2b, N0, M0
Cancer found in other pelvic tissue but still has not spread to lymph nodes or distant organs.
TNM: T2c, N0, M0
Tumor found in the pelvic area and is shedding cancer cells into the abdominal fluid.
TNM: T3, N0, M0
Tumor found in one or both tubes and the pelvis. It has spread to the peritoneum but no sign of distant metastasis.
Cancer tumors are microscopic and found throughout the pelvis.
TNM: T3a, N0, M0
TNM: T3b, N0, M0
Tumor has spread to the peritoneal area with implants measuring 2cm or less in diameter.
TNM: Any T, N1, M0
Cancer has spread to the peritoneal area but implants measure more than 2cm in diameter, or the tumor has spread to lymph nodes and/or the pelvis. No sign of distant metastasis.
TNM: Any T, any N, M1
Cancer has spread to distant organs.
A fallopian tube cancer recurrence is usually stage 3 or 4.
Compare With Other Gynecologic Cancers
Breast Cancer Staging
Cervical Cancer Stages
Ovarian Cancer Stages
Endometrial Cancer Staging
Vaginal Cancer Stages
Vulva Cancer Staging