How is fallopian tube cancer diagnosed?
Tests to find the cancer
Because of the lack of symptoms in its early stages, and the difficulty of seeing something abnormal growing on the inside of a tube, cancer of the fallopian tubes is not easy to diagnose.
Many cases are diagnosed by accident when the patient is having surgery for some other reason. However, if your doctor suspects the presence of a tumour, there are several tests that may be performed.
The doctor will probably begin by taking a history and doing an internal pelvic examination to feel for the shape, size and position of the pelvic organs.
Blood tests and an ultrasound of the pelvis may be ordered.
Once cancer of the fallopian tubes is suspected, you should be referred to a gynaecologic oncologist (a doctor who has completed specialist training in cancer of the female reproductive system).
Following further tests, an operation called a laparotomy will be performed in most cases. This is an operation in which a long cut is made in the abdomen to examine the internal organs (sometimes called an exploratory operation).
During this operation, the surgeon will assess the spread of the cancer and will attempt to remove much, if not all, of the cancer. What is removed will be sent to a pathologist for testing.
The results will allow the doctor to stage the disease and plan any further treatment.