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Ovarian Cancer

Stages of Ovarian Cancer

Staging refers to how advanced the cancer is and how far it has spread. In general, the lower the stage, the more optimistic the prognosis, so it’s important to try to catch ovarian cancer quickly.  

  • Stage I: The cancer is confined to one or both ovaries, and has not spread.
  • Stage IA: The cancer is contained to a single ovary and has not spread onto the ovary’s outer surface. In this stage, doctors have not found cancer cells in fluids from the abdomen or pelvis.
  • Stage IB: The cancer is in both ovaries but has not spread to their outer surfaces.
  • Stage IC: The cancer is located in one or both ovaries, and it is in the outer surface of at least one ovary, and/or the outer wall of a cystic (or fluid-filled) tumor has ruptured and/or cancer cells have been found in the washings or fluid of the pelvis or abdomen.
  • Stage II: The cancer has spread beyond the ovaries, but is confined to the bladder, rectum or uterus (i.e., the pelvic region). The cancer hasn’t spread to the lymph nodes, abdominal lining or distant organs.
  • Stage IIA: The cancer has spread onto or into the uterus, fallopian tubes or both, but doctors haven’t found cancer cells in washings or fluid from the abdomen or pelvis.
  • Stage IIB: The cancer has spread to other organs in the pelvis, such as the sigmoid colon, rectum or bladder, but doctors have not found cancer cells in fluid or washings from the pelvis or abdomen.
  • Stage IIC: The cancer has spread to the uterus, fallopian tubes or other pelvic organs, and doctors have found cancer cells in fluid or washings from the abdomen or pelvis.
  • Stage III: The cancer has spread to the abdominal lining (the peritoneum) and/or the abdominal lymph nodes. This is the most common stage at which the cancer is diagnosed.
  • Stage IIIA: The cancer is found is one or both ovaries, and cancerous cells are found in the abdominal lining (though it has not spread to the lymph nodes), but is too small to be seen without a microscope.
  • Stage IIIB: The cancer is found in one or both arteries, and visible cancer deposits that are less than two centimeters across are found in the abdomen, though the cancer hasn’t spread to the lymph nodes.
  • Stage IIIC: The cancer is found in the ovaries and it has spread to the lymph nodes and/or cancerous deposits greater than two centimeters across are found in the abdomen.
  • Stage IV: The cancer has spread to organs beyond the abdomen, including the liver, lungs or other organs. This is a very serious stage of the disease.
  • Recurrent ovarian cancer: The cancer has returned after treatment. 

Locations for Ovarian Cancer