What are the Different Stages of Ovarian Cancer?

By on November 7, 2013

Ovarian cancer has taken second place among all types of cancers which occur most commonly in women.

There are various kinds of cancers that occur in the ovary. Among those epithelial ovarian cancer is the common one in most of the women who suffer with cancer in the ovary.

Women who are at 60’s are more like to have ovarian cancer. Staging of ovarian cancer can help doctor to find out the condition of its growth in the body. Doctor can determine how far the disease has spread or grown.

By performing some scans or tests,a doctor can diagnose the cancer and know the information about in which stage it is. From that your doctor can give you treatment based on stage of cancer. Ovarian cancer can be staged in to following:

How Ovarian Cancer is Staged?

Stages of Ovarian CancerStaging system of ovarian cancer is said to be FIGO system. Ovarian cancer can occur in four stages. These four stages are further divided into sub-groups.

Stage 1: This stage is said to be early stage disease. Cancer growth is limited to ovaries itself.It is further divided into three sub-groups.

  • Stage 1a: Growth of ovarian cancer is only in one ovary and tumor is developed inside the ovary. There is no sign of cancer growth on outer surface of the ovary and ascites with malignant cells. Intact capsule is found.
  • Stage 1b: Growth of cancer is limited to both the ovaries with no tumor on outer surfaces. There are also no ascites with malignant cells. Intact capsule is found.
  • Stage 1c: Tumors are classified in to Stage IA and IB. But there is one or more of the following are present:
    • Tumors are located on either outer surface of one ovary or both ovaries
    • The capsule rupture
    • Presence of ascites with malignant cells or positive peritoneal washings

Stage 2: Growth of ovarian cancer is present either in one or both the ovaries along with pelvic extension.

  • Stage 2a: The cancer may spread to fallopian tubes or uterus or both.
  • Stage 2b: The growth of cancer extends to other pelvic organs.
  • Stage 2c: The cancer is classified into Stage IIA or IIB but there is more chances of occurrence of one or more of following:
    • Tumors are located on outer surface of one ovary or both the ovaries
    • The capsule gets ruptured
    • Presence of ascites with malignant cells or positive peritoneal washings


Stage 3: Growth of cancer may occur in one or both the ovaries, anyhow anyone of the following may present:

  • The cancer may extended beyond pelvis to lining of abdomen
  • The cancer may extend to lymph nodes. The tumors are limited to true pelvis but histologically proven that malignant extension to omentum or small bowel.
  • Stage 3a: During staging operation, the practitioner or physician can find out ovarian cancer involving one ovary or both the ovaries, but cancer is not found in abdomen and no extension to lymph nodes. However, with biopsies that are checked under microscope shows the results that small deposits of tumor cells are found in abdominal peritoneal surfaces.
  • Stage 3b: The tumor can present in one or both the ovaries, and deposits of ovarian cancer are located in abdomen which is large enough for practitioner to observe but not beyond 2 cm in diameter. The cancer will not extend or spread to lymph nodes.
  • Stage 3c: The tumor is present in one ovary or both the ovaries. Deposits of tumor cells are located in abdomen which is large enough for physician to find out but not beyond 2 cm in diameter. The cancer will not spread or extended to the lymph nodes.

Stage 4: This stage is most advanced of ovarian cancer. Growth of cancer can occur in one ovary or both the ovaries and distant metastases mean spread of cancer to the organs present outside of peritoneal cavity.

Finding out ovarian cancer cells in pleural fluid which surround lungs is also an evidence of stage IV disease.

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