Mullerian cancer is a malignancy that is found in the fallopian tubes and ovaries. It is commonly seen in the body parts that contain the cancerous epithelial and connective tissues. There are two main types of Mullerian cancer. The first one is homologous in which the ovaries and uterus are affected.
The other type is heterologous, which is made of cartilage. Cartilage is part of bones or skeletal muscles. Mullerian cancer has a ratio of about 2-5% as compared to other tumors involving the uterus. Postmenopausal women are commonly affected by this cancer. Women who are 66 years or above should get regular test screenings as they are prone to it.
Adenocarcinoma and Mullerian cancer have similar risk factors. Tamoxifen therapy, obesity, and pelvic irradiation are commonly observed causes. When compared to adenocarcinomas, these tumors are fleshier. Being bulky, Mullerian tumors can protrude as well.
Mullerian Cancer Stages
The incidence of Mullerian cancer is high in black women. There are different stages of this disease. In stage 3 and stage 4 Mullerian cancer might spread outside the uterus. The recurrence of the tumor is around 55%. The most common sites are fallopian tubes and ovaries.
Sarcoma and metastases are commonly seen in the recurrent cases of Mullerian cancer. The most important prognostic factor is the stage of cancer. Another important factor is to see the extent of the spread of cancer. If the cancer is induced by radiation then it is most difficult to treat and devise a management plan.
The stages of Mullerian cancer are described below:
- Stage 1: In this first stage, the carcinoma is particularly attached to the corpus uteri. The symptoms might appear which can help to detect cancer.
- Stage 2: The corpus and cervix, both are involved in the carcinoma.
- Stage 3: There are high chances that the carcinoma spreads outside the uterus but it will not extend to the pelvis.
- Stage 4: The extension of the carcinoma will be outside the pelvis. There is a possibility of involvement of the bladder.
Mullerian Cancer Prognosis
The prognosis of Mullerian cancer is dependent on two factors. The first is the extent of spread and the other one is the stage of cancer. The grade and type of Mullerian cancer are the two prime points to consider while making the diagnosis. This cancer is highly malignant.
The symptoms that can help in diagnosing Mullerian cancer are as follows:
- Postmenopausal bleeding
- Uterus enlargement
- Pelvic pain
- Exposure to radiation frequently especially before the age of 35 years
- Chronic vaginal bleeding
- Polypoid mass
- Serum CEA levels are elevated
Biologic and genetic properties are other factors that might affect Mullerian cancer prognosis. Biomarkers and certain lab tests can help in the determination of Mullerian cancer. The age of the patient is another important point to consider while diagnosing this kind of cancer.
It is important to see that the management plan devised for these patients is helping them rather than depleting their quality of life. For this overall health of the patient should be considered.
Mullerian Cancer Survival Rate
The 5-year survival rate depends on the stage of cancer. These stages are further differentiated as follows:
- Localized tumors mean that the cancer is confined to the uterus or anyone specific site.
- Regional cancer involves the spread to its surrounding areas like lymph nodes.
- Distant cancer spreads to other parts of the body that involve the lungs and kidneys.
If the cancer is diagnosed below 40 years of age, there are high chances of the survival rate but there is an exception in this case. Mullerian cancer is diagnosed after 60 years, which makes it difficult to predict the survival chances of each patient separately.
Mullerian Cancer Treatment
The histogenesis of Mullerian cancer is doubtful which makes the treatment plan uncertain. Therapeutic approaches depend on the type of lesion. The effectiveness of chemotherapy is different as compared to other cancers. There are chances of increased toxicity with chemotherapeutic drugs.
The pathogenesis of cancer should be fully understood to devise a golden treatment plan for the affected patients. Surgery can be the primary treatment option. Surgical approaches can help to reduce the recurrence rate. In advanced stages of cancer, chemotherapy and radiotherapy won’t be as effective as surgery.
The surgical approach may include a total abdominal hysterectomy. This might increase the survival chances and improve the quality of life. Patients are advised to visit for regular pap smear tests and overall annual check-ups. This can help in diagnosing Mullerian cancer at an early stage.