Ovarian cancer stages

ovarian cancer stages

ovarian cancer stages

This fact sheet describes how ovarian cancer is classified into four stages when diagnosed, and what treatment can be offered for each stage. There is a glossary to explain words you may not be familiar with.  Further information on each of the four stages is in fact sheets 3a, 3b, 3c and 3d.

The stage of ovarian cancer means how far the cancer has spread at the time it is diagnosed.  This may be based on scans or after surgery when your surgeon has seen the cancer. Laboratory reports will confirm the stage and what type of ovarian cancer you have. The system of staging also applies to fallopian tube and primary peritoneal cancers.

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Stage 1

In stage 1, the cancer has not spread beyond the ovaries. Stage 1A means the cancer is only in one ovary. In stage 1B, the cancer is in both ovaries. Stage 1C means that one or both ovaries contain cancer cells and one of the following are also found: the outer capsule broke during surgery, the capsule burst before surgery, there are cancer cells on the outside of an ovary, or cancer cells are found in fluid washings from the abdomen.

Stage 2

In stage 2 ovarian cancer, the cancer is in one or both ovaries and has spread to elsewhere within the pelvis. Stage 2A means it has gone from the ovaries to the fallopian tubes, the uterus, or to both. Stage 2B indicates the cancer has migrated to nearby organs like the bladder, sigmoid colon, or rectum.

Stage 3
This is the most common stage at which ovarian cancer is diagnosed. At this stage the cancer may have spread beyond the pelvis to the lymph nodes in the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity).

Stage 3a1 is when the cancer has spread only to the peritoneal lymph nodes, these are nodes in the abdominal area.  Stage 3a1(i) means the disease in the lymph nodes measures up to 10 millimeters in diameter, 3a1(ii) means that cancer in the lymph nodes measures more than 10mm.  Stage 3a2 is when microscopic disease has spread beyond the pelvis with or without affecting the peritoneal nodes.

Stage 3b means visible disease has spread beyond the pelvis and measures less than two centimeters with or without affecting the peritoneal nodes.  Stage 3c is visible disease beyond the pelvis measuring more than 2cms, with or without involving the peritoneal nodes, including the surface of the liver and the spleen but not within these organs.

At stage 3 the tumor on the lining of the abdomen (peritoneum) may release fluid which collects inside the abdomen. This collection of fluid is called ascites.

Stage 4

Stage 4 ovarian cancer has spread beyond the abdomen to more distant organs.

Stage 4a is when the cancer causes a build-up of fluid between the lining of the lungs and the chest wall, called a pleural effusion.  This can result in breathlessness.

Stage 4b is when the cancer has spread within other more distant organs including lymph nodes outside the abdominal cavity.

If you have stage 3 or stage 4 ovarian cancer you may be offered surgery and chemotherapy.  You may be offered some chemotherapy before surgery and the rest of the course afterwards.  In some cases, chemotherapy alone may be the best treatment.

10 common questions about ovarian cancer stages

1Can you survive ovarian cancer?
An ovarian cancer diagnosis is not a death sentence. But the prognosis typically depends on when the cancer is detected. The five-year relative survival rate for all types and stages of ovarian cancer is 47 percent, according to the ACS
2Can Stage 3 ovarian cancer be cured?
Doctors usually class stage 3 ovarian cancer as advanced ovarian cancer. This means the cancer has spread away from the ovary. ... Treatment can cure some advanced cancers. But if treatment can't cure you, the aim of treatment is to control the cancer for as long as possible.
3Can Stage 4 ovarian cancer be cured?
Stage IV cancers In stage IV, the cancer has spread to distant sites, like the liver, the lungs, or bones. These cancers are very hard to cure with current treatments, but they can still be treated. The goals of treatment are to help patients feel better and live longer
4Where is the first place ovarian cancer spreads to?
Metastatic ovarian cancer is an advanced stage malignancy that has spread from the cells in the ovaries to distant areas of the body. This type of cancer is most likely to spread to the liver, the fluid around the lungs, the spleen, the intestines, the brain, skin or lymph nodes outside of the abdomen.
5Do you feel ill with ovarian cancer?
Women reported whether they had any of the symptoms associated with ovarian cancer (nausea, diarrhea, or constipation, pelvic or abdominal pain, bloating or feeling full, urinary frequency or urgency), how long they had had them, and how often
6Does ovarian cancer spread quickly?
Benign tumours don't usually spread to other parts of the body. They may need treatment but they're rarely life threatening. Malignant ovarian tumours, however, are cancerous. It's important to catch cancers early because they can grow enough to engulf most of the ovary and can spread to other parts of the body too.
7Can ovarian cancer go undetected for years?
Ovarian cancer often goes undetected until it has spread within the pelvis and abdomen. At this late stage, ovarian cancer is more difficult to treat. Early-stage ovarian cancer, in which the disease is confined to the ovary, is more likely to be treated successfully
8How long can u live with ovarian cancer?
For all types of ovarian cancer taken together, about 3 in 4 women with ovarian cancer live for at least 1 year after diagnosis. Almost half (46%) of women with ovarian cancer are still alive at least 5 years after diagnosis. Women diagnosed when they are younger than 65 do better than older women
9Is Stage 3 ovarian cancer a terminal?
In stage 3 ovarian cancer, the cancer is found in one or both ovaries, as well as in the lining of the abdomen, or it has spread to lymph nodes in the abdomen. ... Stage 3B is when the cancer has spread to nearby organs within the pelvis
10How bad is stage 3 cancer?
Stage 3 cancer means the breast cancer has extended to beyond the immediate region of the tumor and may have invaded nearby lymph nodes and muscles, but has not spread to distant organs. Although this stage is considered to be advanced, there are a growing number of effective treatment options.


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