If you have used Talcum Powder products around the genital area these talc products may have moved to your fallopian tubes resulting in fallopian tube cancer. The products include Johnson and Johnson Baby Powder and Shower to Shower. The Talcum Powder Lawsuit Helpline is always looking for articles to share with our readers. We found this online and feel it was worth sharing.
All About Fallopian Tube Cancer
Neha Vapiwala, MD and Christine Hill-Kayser, MD
Updated by: Karen Arnold-Korzeniowski, BSN RN
The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: March 14, 2016
What are the fallopian tube(s)?
The fallopian tubes are a pair of thin tubes that transport a woman’s eggs (ova) from her ovaries (where they are housed) to her uterus (aka “womb”) where they are either fertilized by male sperm or discarded during menstruation. Typically, an egg is released from one of the ovaries into the adjacent fallopian tube once each month during ovulation, which occurs in women who are of reproductive age. The tube helps to move the egg along its journey to the uterus with small hair-like projections called cilia that line the inside of the tubes.
What is fallopian tube cancer?
Normally, cells in the body will grow and divide to replace old or damaged cells in the body. This growth is highly regulated, and once enough cells are produced to replace the old ones, normal cells stop dividing. Tumors occur when there is an error in this regulation and cells continue to grow in an uncontrolled way. Tumors can either be benign or malignant. Although benign tumors may grow in an uncontrolled fashion sometimes, they do not spread beyond the part of the body where they started (metastasize) and do not invade into surrounding tissues. Malignant tumors, however, will grow in such a way that they invade and damage other tissues around them. They also may spread to other parts of the body, usually through the blood stream or through the lymphatic system where the lymph nodes are located. Over time, the cells within a malignant tumor become more abnormal and appear less like normal cells. This change in the appearance of cancer cells is called the tumor grade, and cancer cells are described as being well-differentiated, moderately-differentiated, poorly-differentiated, or undifferentiated. Well-differentiated cells are quite normal appearing and resemble the normal cells from which they originated. Undifferentiated cells are cells that have become so abnormal that often we cannot tell what types of cells they started from.
Cancer of the fallopian tubes is an abnormal growth of malignant cells in one or both of a woman’s fallopian tubes. The vast majority of fallopian tube cancers are papillary serous adenocarcinomas. These cancers grow from cells that line the fallopian tubes, which have become abnormal. When the cells begin to divide abnormally and gain the ability to invade other organs or spread to other parts of the body, tumors may form. Very occasionally, tumors can form from smooth muscle in the fallopian tubes, in which case they are called sarcomas (leiomyosarcomas), or from other cells that line the fallopian tubes, in which case they are called transitional cell carcinomas.
What are the signs of fallopian tube cancer?
The most common symptoms are vaginal bleeding, vaginal discharge, and abdominal pain. As a general rule, any vaginal bleeding in postmenopausal women should be quickly and carefully evaluated. Blood tinged vaginal discharge can be associated with infection. Your provider may order a course of antibiotic treatment. If the discharge does not resolve it may signify the presence of cancer. The pelvic pain associated with fallopian tube cancer occurs because of trapped fluid blocking and distending the fallopian tube. The pain is typically referred to as colicky or dull.
How is fallopian tube cancer diagnosed?
It is difficult to see something abnormal growing on the inside of a tube. This makes fallopian tube cancer difficult to diagnosis. One of the most important steps in evaluating any patient with a gynecologic complaint is a proper pelvic examination. The healthcare provider (HCP) should examine the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and vagina. During this test your provider will most likely perform a Pap smear. A Pap smear is a test in which your provider will use a thin tool to scrape a sample of cells from your cervix, which will then be tested. An abnormal pap smear does not mean you have fallopian tube cancer. An abnormal Pap smear test can mean nothing or it can provide answers about what else could be going on in your body. And though a pelvic exam and pap smear is helpful in diagnosing a gynecological issue it is not the determinate test of fallopian tube cancer.
Thought to be more helpful in diagnosing fallopian tube cancer specifically is ultrasound. Ultrasound is an imaging test in which high-energy sound waves bounce off of tissues or organs making echoes that form a picture, called a sonogram. Your provider may start with a transabdominal ultrasound. During this test a probe covered with a gel is moved around the skin on top of your abdomen to produce a picture of your abdominal organ. This test is useful but if your provider still suspects fallopian tube cancer, he or she will order a transvaginal ultrasound. During this test, a probe will be placed into the vagina to produce a picture of the internal organs. A transvaginal ultrasound is the most effective technique for imaging the fallopian tubes. CT scan and MRI are routinely used in conjunction with ultrasound to image the organs in the abdomen.
Serum levels of a marker called CA-125 can be abnormally high in patients with gynecologic diseases, both cancer and non-cancer types (ie: pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, early pregnancy). Although CA-125 is nonspecific, and may be elevated due to many problems that are not cancer, checking a preoperative level is often recommended in a postmenopausal woman with a pelvic mass, if for no other reason than to establish a baseline value for later comparison and assessment of response to therapy.
Although imaging and lab test results are helpful in diagnosing fallopian tube cancer, most providers feel that the diagnosis requires surgery to evaluate the fallopian tubes and obtain tissue specimens to test for cancer cells.
How is fallopian tube cancer staged?
In order to guide treatment and offer some insight into prognosis, fallopian cancer is staged using the FIGO system (International Federation of Gynecologists and Obstetricians). Healthcare providers also use the TNM system (also called tumor – node – metastasis system). This system describes the size and local invasiveness of the tumor (T), which, if any, lymph nodes are involved (N), and if it has spread to other more distant areas of the body (M). This is then interpreted as a stage somewhere from I (one), denoting more limited disease, to IV (four), denoting more advanced disease. Generally, the higher the stage, the more serious the cancer. The staging system is quite technical, but is provided here for your reference.
Talcum Powder and Fallopian Tube Cancer
It is now known that talcum powder might cause cancer in the ovaries if the powder particles (applied to the genital area or on sanitary napkins, diaphragms, or condoms) were to travel through the vagina, uterus, and fallopian tubes to the ovaries. These particles can lodge in the fallopian tubes as well potentially resulting in fallopian tube cancer. Johnson’s Baby Powder And Shower To Shower can result in Ovarian Cancer And Invasive Fallopian Tube Cancer.