Gestational Trophoblastic Tumors

What are gestational trophoblastic tumors?

A gestational trophoblastic tumor is a rare cancer found in women, in which the malignant cells grow in the tissues that are formed due the joining of sperm and egg. Gestational trophoblastic tumor being inside the uterus, the hollow, muscular, pear-shaped organ where baby grows. The caner usually occurs in women when are in a position to have children.

It can be classified into two: hydatidiform mole and choriocarcinoma

Hydatidiform mole

The Hydatidiform mole is the most usual form of gestational trophoblastic tumors. If a patient has a hydatidiform mole the sperm and egg cells have joined without any development of a baby in the uterus. However, the tissues that are formed have a grape-like cyst. Hydatidiform mole does not spread to the other parts of the body.

Hydatidiform mole is also called molar pregnancy.

Choriocarcinoma

If a patient has a choriocarcinoma the tumour have started from a hydatidiform mole or could be from a tissue that remains in the uterus following an abortion or delivery of the baby. Choriocarcinoma can spread from uterus to the other parts of the body. It is a very rare type of gestational trophoblastic tumor in the uterus where the placenta was attached.

Choriocarcinoma is also called placenta-site trophoblastic disease.

How is a Gestational Trophoblastic Tumor diagnosed?

If there are any symptoms doctor will examine and may have several tests to see if the patient has a gestational trophoblastic tumor. An internal – pelvic examination is the first tests. The doctor will feel the size or any strange feeling in the shape or size of the uterus. Thereafter, the doctor may then do an ultrasound – test that uses sound waves to detect any tumour. Even a blood test is also done in order to find high levels of a hormones called beta HCG (beta human chorionic gonadotropin) which is present during normal pregnancy. If a woman is not pregnant and HCG is in the blood, it can be the sign of gestational trophoblastic tumor.

Gestational trophoblastic Tumors Treatment

If gestational trophoblastic tumor has been found more tests need to be done to find out if the cancer has spread from uterus to the other parts of the body. A doctor needs to know the stage of disease to plan the treatment.

There are treatments available for all the people with gestational trophoblastic tumor. Usually two treatments are used surgery and chemotherapy. Radiation therapy may be used in certain cases to treat cancer that has spread to the other parts of the body.

Surgery – It includes an operation to take out the cancer.

Chemotherapy – It uses a drug or a combination of drugs to kill the cancer. It may be taken as pill or put into the body by a needle in a vein or muscle. It is a systematic treatment the drugs enter the bloodstream travel through the body and kill the cancer. Chemotherapy may be given alone or may be before or after surgery.

Radiation therapy – The radiation therapy involves the uses of high-energy x-rays to kill the cancerous cells. Radiation may come from a machine outside the body or from putting materials that produce radiation through thin plastic tubes in the area where the cancer cells are located.