Fallopian Tube Cancer: Risk Factors and Prevention

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 07/2013

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about the factors that increase the chance of developing this type of cancer. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of developing cancer. Although risk factors often influence the development of cancer, most do not directly cause cancer. Some people with several risk factors never develop cancer, while others with no known risk factors do. However, knowing your risk factors and talking about them with your doctor may help you make more informed lifestyle and health care choices.

Because fallopian tube cancer is uncommon, not much is known about the risk factors. However, the following factors may raise a woman’s risk of developing fallopian tube cancer:

Genetic mutations. Recent studies have suggested that a mutation in the BRCA1 gene, which is linked to breast and ovarian cancer, may also increase the risk of developing fallopian tube cancer. Learn more about BRCA gene mutations and hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.

Age. Fallopian tube cancer occurs mostly in postmenopausal women in their 50s and 60s. However, fallopian tube cancer can begin in women as early as 40, particularly in those who have BRCA1.

Family history. A family history of fallopian tube cancer can increase a woman’s risk of developing this cancer.


Research continues to look into what factors cause this type of cancer and what people can do to lower their personal risk. There is no proven way to completely prevent this disease, but there may be steps you can take to lower your cancer risk. Talk with your doctor if you have concerns about your personal risk of developing this type of cancer.

Some women with a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer may consider a risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy. This is a preventive surgery to remove the fallopian tubes and ovaries, even if cancer is not diagnosed. This operation will significantly reduce, but not eliminate, the risk that a woman will develop ovarian or fallopian tube cancer. Women considering this surgery should talk with their doctor and a genetic counselor to fully understand the risks and side effects of this surgery compared with the risk of developing these types of cancer.

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