The 4 Stages of Fallopian Tube Cancer
Stage I fallopian tube cancer has three substages. In early stage I, the tumor resides inside just one fallopian tube and has not reached the outside layer of the organ. During stage IC, cancer could occur in one or both fallopian tubes and cancer cells reach the outer surface. At this later stage, doctors may find cancer cells in the abdomen or pelvis after surgery due to a rupture in the surface of the tumor. The five-year survival rate at stage I in 2010 was 95 percent with correct treatment.
Oncologists mark stage II fallopian tube cancer by noting the cancer's spread to other pelvic organs such as the uterus, ovaries, bladder, sigmoid colon or rectum. At this stage, cancer has not yet spread to the lymph nodes. Cancer cells may appear in abdominal fluid as tumors shed outer layers. The five-year survival rate at this stage was 75 percent in 2010.
Stage III fallopian tube cancer includes three substages, all of which denote cancer that spreads to areas outside the pelvis. Doctors observe stage IIIA cancer when the main tumor limits itself to the pelvis, but microscopic seeds occur on the small bowel, omentum or liver. Stage IIIB occurs when cancer spreads to the peritoneal area, or the tissue that lines the abdomen. Tumors outside the pelvis remain smaller than 2 centimeters across. Stage IIIC happens when tumors within the abdomen, but outside the fallopian tubes, reach 2 centimeters or more in size. A small tumor may occur on the outer surface of the liver. The five-year survival rate for this stage was 69 percent in 2010.
Doctors note stage IV fallopian tube cancer when tumors metastasize and travel to other, more distant parts of the body. A tumor could develop inside the liver rather than on the surface. Other organs that may develop tumors include the spleen, lungs and lymph nodes outside the abdominal area. Oncologists noted a five-year survival rate of stage IV fallopian tube cancer of 45 percent with correct treatments.
Fallopian tube cancer represents one of the rarest gynecological cancers in women, striking an average of 3.6 out of 1 million women per year in the United States as of 2015. Although the underlying cause is not generally known, fallopian tube cancer has a peak incidence in women ages 60 to 64, and anywhere from 16 to 43 percent of patients have a genetic marker for the disease. Learn the four stages of fallopian tube cancer with this basic guide.
Talk to your primary care physician if you have any symptoms of this disease such as vaginal bleeding, vaginal discharge or pelvic pain. These types of symptoms in postmenopausal women may represent a serious medical issue that needs attention.