Because fallopian tube cancer is so rare, and its symptoms can resemble other problems, it can be difficult to diagnose. Additionally, in some cases, women don't learn they have fallopian tube cancer until a tube has been removed surgically during an operation to treat another illness or problem.
However, there are several tests that may be performed in order to make a definite diagnosis of the condition. First your doctor will start by asking about any symptoms you may be experiencing, as well as reviewing your medical history and conducting a thorough physical exam. Other tests that may be performed include:
- Pelvic Exam — This test involves feeling the uterus, vagina, ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder and rectum to find any abnormality in their shape or size.
- CA125 Test — This is a blood test that checks levels of a blood protein known as CA125, which is a tumor marker for gynecological diseases such as fallopian tube cancer. An estimated 85 percent of women with gynecological disease have increased levels of CA125.
However, it is important to note that increased levels of CA125 may not necessarily mean that a woman has cancer, since CA125 levels also may be increased during pregnancy, menstruation, in the presence of other non-cancerous gynecologic diseases or cancers affecting other parts of the body.
- Computed tomography (CT) Scan — This imaging test takes a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. The pictures are created by a computer, which is linked to an X-ray machine. A special dye may be injected into a vein or swallowed to help the organs or tissues show up more clearly.
- Ultrasound — An ultrasound of the pelvis may be performed. This test involves the use of high-frequency sound waves to create images of organs and systems within the body. These waves, which cannot be heard by humans, create a pattern of echoes called a sonogram. Healthy tissues, fluid-filled cysts, and tumors look different on this picture.
Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.