Ovarian, Fallopian Tube and Primary Peritoneal Cancer

What are ovarian, fallopian tube and primary peritoneal cancers?

Ovarian epithelial cancer, fallopian tube cancer, and primary peritoneal cancer form in the same kind of tissue covering the ovary or lining the fallopian tube or peritoneum. They are often treated with the same therapies.

The ovaries are a pair of organs in the female reproductive system that make eggs and female hormones. The fallopian tubes connect the ovaries to the uterus. Eggs pass from the ovaries, through the fallopian tubes, to the uterus. The peritoneum is the tissue that lines the abdominal wall and covers organs in the abdomen.

More information about ovarian, fallopian tube and primary peritoneal cancers (National Cancer Institute)

Familial Cancer Program

Some cancers, including ovarian, sometimes have a genetic component to them. That means that some women with a family history of the disease, or who have inherited a specific gene mutation or other hereditary conditions, may be at higher risk.

Hereditary ovarian cancer makes up about 20% of all cases of ovarian cancer.

The Familiar Cancer Program at Norris Cotton Cancer Center provides full risk assessment and genetic testing and counseling for women who may be at higher risk.

What ovarian, fallopian tube and primary peritoneal cancer is not

Ovarian, fallopian tube, and primary peritoneal cancer should not be confused with other gynecologic cancers. These cancers can have different symptoms, outlooks, and treatments.

Diagnosis

It’s possible that you could have one or more of the following tests (not all of these will apply to your condition):

  • Medical history and physical exam
  • Pelvic exam
  • Imaging (Ultrasound, computerized tomography (CT), positron emission tomography (PET) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
  • Biopsy

Treatment

Depending on your unique set of conditions and how far the disease has spread, your treatment for ovarian epithelial cancer could include one or more of the following treatments (but not all of these will apply to your condition):

  • Chemotherapy
  • Clinical trial
  • Follow-up care including imaging, lab tests and physical exams
  • Surgery
  • Targeted therapy

Your full team of care providers work closely together to review your diagnostic tests and identify the best course of treatment particular to you. Your team helps you understand your diagnosis and what to expect with any treatment you have.