Surgery may be the only treatment necessary for noncancerous (benign) adnexal tumors. Treatment for cancerous (malignant) adnexal tumors may include surgery as well as chemotherapy or radiation or both.
Surgery to treat noncancerous adnexal tumors differs, depending on whether the tumor is in the fallopian tube or the ovary. Surgery to treat cancerous adnexal tumors is complex, requiring specialized skills. At Mayo Clinic, your surgeon will be a specialist who treats female reproductive cancers (gynecologic oncologist). Studies indicate that women whose surgery is performed by a gynecologic oncologist have significantly higher survival rates than do women whose surgery is performed by surgeons with less specialized training.
- Laparotomy. For cancerous adnexal tumors, surgical treatment may require the removal of the ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes, nearby lymph glands and a fold of fatty tissue inside the abdomen (omentum), a common site for ovarian and fallopian tube cancers to spread. When surgeons cannot remove the entire tumor because of its size or location, they will remove as much of it as possible (debulking). If the tumor has spread to other organs, you may need more extensive surgery.
- Laparoscopic surgery. Sometimes doctors can use laparoscopic surgery for adnexal tumors. Also known as minimally invasive surgery, this procedure uses a small camera and miniature instruments inserted through tiny incisions in the abdomen.
After surgery for a cancerous adnexal tumor, you will likely be treated with chemotherapy to kill any remaining cancer cells. Because chemotherapy medications work differently when used together, the doctor may give you a combination of drugs.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy is rarely used now for ovarian and fallopian tube cancer, in part because of improvements in chemotherapy, but some people may still benefit.
Feb. 27, 2014
- Muto MG. Management of an adnexal mass. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 18, 2013.
- Muto MG. Approach to the patient with an adnexal mass. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 18, 2013.
- Golden AK. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 30, 2013.