3 Treatment Options for Fallopian Tube Cancer
Surgery is typically the primary option used to treat fallopian tube cancer. Sometimes, the surgery takes place at the same time as the biopsy. The type of surgery may depend on the stage of the cancer. The most extreme surgery is a hysterectomy, where the surgeon removes the uterus, and sometimes the cervix. Surgeons more often treat early-stage fallopian tube cancer with a salpingo-oophorectomy, removing the fallopian tube and ovary. Surgeons frequently remove nearby lymph nodes as well. In some cases, the surgery involves a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure.
In chemotherapy, patients take drugs to fight the cancer cells. Often, doctors prescribe intraperitoneal chemotherapy for fallopian tube cancer, injecting the chemo drugs directly into the peritoneal cavity, the location of the fallopian tubes. Chemotherapy for fallopian tube cancer, which typically employs drugs such as carboplatin or paclitaxel, is an adjunct to surgery, with the intent of destroying any cancer cells left behind after surgery. The specifics of chemotherapy depend on the stage of the cancer, and may employ multiple chemo drugs.
Radiation is not a primary treatment for fallopian tube cancer. Doctors may use it before surgery to try to reduce the size of the tumor. They may also use it to treat late-stage fallopian tube cancer or recurrences of the cancer, as well as for palliative care if the cancer is untreatable by other means. In radiation therapy, specialists apply radioactive materials to the cancer to try to shrink the tumor, either by means of high-energy X-rays, through the insertion of radioactive substances into the body near the tumor, or through the injection of radioactive liquids. Radiation therapy is typically the last line of defense, after surgery and chemotherapy.
Medical professionals use a combination of therapies to treat fallopian tube cancer. These essentially follow the same treatment protocol as ovarian cancer. The size of the tumor, its location and its stage impact treatment choices. In addition, the patient's age, health and her desire to have children in the future affect treatment decisions. The three primary treatment options for fallopian tube cancer are surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.