Symptoms of Fallopian Tube Cancer
Clinical Signs

Signs of fallopian tube cancer

Bloating and Tummy Pain

Symptoms of Fallopian Tube


What Are The Signs?
Which Symptoms Are More Common?
Vaginal Bleeding
Abdominal Pain
Vaginal Discharge
Abdominal Distension
Other Symptoms

Main Guide:

Fallopian Tube Cancer

What Are The Signs?

The average (mean) age of a woman who receives a fallopian tube cancer diagnosis is 56 years old, with most occurrences happening after this age. There also appears to be a higher occurrence in white postmenopause women compared to black women. The most common signs of the disease are vaginal discharge and abdominal pain. In fact the clinical symptoms are very similar to cancer of the ovaries but with fallopian tube cancer, patients are more likely to experience abdominal pain. This may be why they seek medical advice earlier and are diagnosed sooner than those who receive an ovarian cancer diagnosis. However as so many of the symptoms are non-specific, and could be caused by numerous conditions, a significant proportion of women may be initially misdiagnosed. In fact the disease may only be diagnosed after exploratory laparotomy.

What are my chances of surviving?
See: Fallopian tube cancer survival rates

Which Symptoms Are More Common?

Percentage of patients displaying symptoms at time of diagnosis.

Symptom Percentage of Patients Presenting Symptom
Vaginal Bleeding 34 percent
Abdominal Pain 23 percent
Vaginal Discharge 20 percent
Abdominal Distension 9 percent
Other Symptoms 8 percent
Urinary Frequency 3 percent
No Symptoms 3 percent

Women may experience all, some or none of the symptoms. Yet, it is important to remember that even if you do exhibit symptoms, it does not necessarily mean you have cancer.

Vaginal Bleeding

Any abnormal bleeding should be investigated. That is, bleeding which occurs between periods or after menopause, as well as bleeding which occurs after vaginal douching or sexual intercourse. If you do experience abnormal bleeding, try not to automatically jump to the worst conclusions. Talk to your doctor who will perform a pelvic examination. Far more common causes of vaginal bleeding include:

Vaginal dryness
• Vaginal tears or lacerations
Uterine fibroids
Endometriosis implants
Ovarian cysts
Cervical polyps

Other Less Common Causes Include:
Cervical cancer
Ovarian cancer
Cancer of the vagina
Vulva cancer
Ectopic pregnancy

Women who have spotting or bleeding after sex should be checked for cervical polyps and cancer, although it may be due to vaginal atrophy or cervicitis. Bleeding between periods (breakthrough bleeding) is usually only a harmless symptom of ovulation. It may however also be a sign of endometriosis, cervical cancer, miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. In postmenopausal women most doctors start by assuming that vaginal bleeding is caused by some gynecologic cancer. However there may be a much more benign cause such as side effects of estrogen replacement therapy (ERT), vaginal atrophy or a vaginal tear. ERT combined with progesterone taken daily can produce irregular bleeds for 3 to 6 months after starting treatment. Women who take a daily dosage of estrogen and then introduce progestin later in the month may also experience withdrawal bleeding when the progestin is stopped. Obese women often have more natural stores of estrogen and this can promote endometrial hyperplasia, a symptom of which is vaginal bleeding. It can be a precursor to endometrial cancer.

Abdominal Pain

Pain is often described as colicky and dull and usually occurs in the lower abdominal area. It may be related to a fallopian tube partially blocked by fluid and pain can be relieved with the passage of a vaginal discharge. If there is a pelvis mass the woman may feel a vague discomfort, particularly if it presses on nearby areas such as the bladder and rectum. If it presses on the bladder it may cause a need to urinate frequently.

Vaginal Discharge

Excessive vaginal discharge is associated with many conditions including STD's, vaginitis, yeast infections (and thrush). Discharge associated with fallopian tube cancer tends to be watery or blood-stained. If you experience abnormal discharges, talk to your doctor. He will probably take a swab of the vagina and a Pap smear test, sending the sample to labs for testing. This will help rule out cervical or vaginal cancer.

Abdominal Distension

This is a sensation of pressure and volume in the abdomen. It is estimated that 1 in 4 Americans experience abdominal distension on a regular basis. Signs can vary, but can include bloating, excessive gas, belching and nausea. It is not associated with pain but can occur with mild cramps. Causes are wide and varied, although it can be associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS), lactose intolerance, celiac disease, diverticulitis and kidney stones, as well as cervical, vaginal and fallopian tube cancer.

Other Symptoms

Some women may experience other types of symptoms, usually those associated with more advanced stages of cancer such as sudden weight loss, fatigue and nausea. See Cancer symptoms for more details.

How Is It Treated?
See Fallopian tube cancer treatment for details.

  Related Articles on Fallopian Tube Cancer

For more details, see the following:

Causes of fallopian tube cancer: Infections and inflammation.
Fallopian tube cancer prevention: STD prevention and more.
Fallopian tube cancer stages: How the disease is staged.
Fallopian tube cancer recurrence: Risk and treatment.

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