Ovarian cancer stages are used to describe the extent of the cancer. This information is essential to a cancer team when developing a treatment plan and can also be useful for determining an individual patient’s prognosis.
Following a diagnosis, ovarian cancer is usually staged using the tumor (T), node (N) and metastasis (M) system (the TNM system). This system evaluates the primary tumor’s size and location (T), whether the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes (N) and whether distant metastasis (M), or spread of the cancer, has occurred. These three factors are then combined to determine the overall cancer stage, which is commonly identified using a numerical staging system.
Ovarian cancer stages include:
- Stage I – The cancer is confined to one (stage IA) or both (stage IB) ovaries. If the cancer is stage I and it is present on the outer surface of one or both ovaries, the tumor has ruptured or there are cancer cells in the abdominal fluid, then the cancer is stage IC.
- Stage II – The cancer is inside one or both ovaries and has spread within the pelvic region. The cancer may have spread to the uterus and/or the fallopian tubes (stage IIA) or other pelvic organs (stage IIB). If the cancer is stage II and it is present on the outer surface of one or both ovaries, the tumor has ruptured or cancer cells are in the abdominal fluid, the cancer is stage IIC.
- Stage III – The cancer involves one or both ovaries and has spread beyond the pelvic region. If small deposits of cancer are detected in the abdominal surfaces, the cancer is stage IIIA. Stage IIIB involves a larger amount of cancer within the abdomen. In stage IIIC, the cancer may have spread to the lymph nodes.
- Stage IV – The cancer involves one or both ovaries and has also spread to distant organs.
To discuss ovarian cancer stages with the multispecialty team of experts at Moffitt Cancer Center, please call 1-888-663-3488 or schedule an appointment online. We do not require referrals and will accept patients at any point, whether they are seeking an initial diagnosis, a second opinion or a new treatment plan.