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Ovarian Cancer Stages

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Ovarian cancer is the cancer which affects either one or both the ovaries. This is a cancer which is the fifth most common cancer in the world that affects women. It is seen in older women, generally who have crossed the mark of 55 years. Ovarian cancer is also called as a silent killer, because this cancer does not have any early alarming signs and even if any issue is seen in the body, many a times it is misdiagnosed as some infection or any other problem. A woman should never ignore any of the signs and should visit a genera practitioner as soon as she feels that something is abnormal.

How is the ovarian cancer staged?

The ovarian cancer stages will tell the doctor the state of the cancer and how much of it has spread in the body. There are many types of tests which are done at the doctors' clinics to determine the spread of the cancer as well as the stage of the cancer. Various types of scans are also performed so that a clear picture of the tumor can be seen by the doctor. Knowing the stage of the cancer is very important, because based on that, the treatment will be decided by the doctor, so that the cancer is completely cured. The stages of ovarian cancer are between one and four. This staging system is also called as FIGO system; the name is given by the authors of the 'International Federation of Gynecological Oncologists'.

Borderline tumors

Border line tumors are not full fledged tumors. They do not come under the ovarian cancer stages. They are abnormal growths which are formed because of uncontrolled multiplication of the cells. These cells pile up and become a growth. But if these growths are left untreated they develop into cancer. They form in the covering of the ovary but do not invade surrounding tissue or spread in other organs.

Ovarian cancer stages

Stage I

In the first stage of ovarian cancer, the cancer is present in the ovaries. Following are the sub stages of this stage: -

  • Stage 1a - Only one ovary is affected in this stage
  • Stage 1b - Both the ovaries are affected in this stage
  • Stage 1c - The cancer is in both the ovaries and has also spread on the surface of the ovary OR cancerous cells are present in a liquid form which is removed from the abdomen at the time of the surgery OR a ruptured ovary is seen in surgery.

Stage II

In Stage II of ovarian cancer, the cancer has spread outside the ovaries and is also approaching the area near the hip bones. This stage may also observe cancerous cells in the abdomen of the woman. Thus, stage 2 cancer can be any of the following: -

  • Stage 2a - The cancer has reached the fallopian tube or the womb
  • Stage 2b - The cancer reaches the tissues of rectum or bladder
  • Stage 2c - The cancer has spread to other major tissues of the abdomen and cancerous cells are present in the fluid which is present in the abdomen

Stage III

In stage III of ovarian cancer, the cancer is grown out of proportion and has spread beyond the pelvic region and started to grow in the abdomen. This cancer is also observed in a large quantity in the womb, groin or the stomach. Stage 3 cancer can include any of the following: -

  • Stage 3a - Tissues from the lining of the abdomen are removed and are checked for the cancerous growth in that particular organ. This is done with the help of a microscope
  • Stage 3b - The size of the tumor, present on the lining of the abdomen is close to 2cm.
  • Stage 3c - In this stage the size of the tumor is beyond 2cm and this cancer has completely affected the organs around the abdomen

Stage IV

This is the last stage of ovarian cancer. If the cancer has reached this stage, it is clear that it has reached other body organs, near or distant from ovaries. The organs may be lungs or the liver. It is difficult to treat this cancer and this cancer many a times is detected during the final stage of cancer.

Ovarian cancer stages grow severe as time passes and one should be careful of this fatal cancer. This is a cancer which does not show any early signs and thus it is difficult to self detect it. This cancer is also caused genetically, and one should always be cautious if this cancer runs in the family. It is necessary to detect this cancer in an early stage so that a good and long life can be led and this cancer can be fought.

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