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Ovarian cancer stages

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Making an educated treatment decision begins with knowing the stage, or progression, of the disease. Using the results from your diagnostic tests, our cancer experts will develop a treatment plan tailored to you, based on the stage of your cancer and other factors. In most cases, ovarian cancer is staged during your initial surgery.

If you have been recently diagnosed, we will review your pathology to confirm you have received the correct diagnosis and staging information, and develop a personalized treatment plan for you. If you have a recurrence, we will perform comprehensive testing and identify a treatment approach tailored to your needs.

FIGO system for ovarian cancer

Most ovarian cancers are staged using the FIGO system. FIGO uses surgical results to determine the extent of the primary tumor (T), whether the cancer is present in the lymph nodes (N) and whether the cancer has metastasized (M) to other parts of the body, such as the liver, bones or brain. Once a patient’s T, N and M categories have been assigned, the information is used to stage the cancer according to a particular group, which is denoted by Roman numerals and subcategorized.

This system is also used to stage fallopian tube cancer and primary peritoneal cancer.

The stages of ovarian cancer include:

Stage I (stage 1 ovarian cancer): The cancer is confined to the ovaries and hasn’t spread to the abdomen, pelvis or lymph nodes, or to distant sites.

Stage II (stage 2 ovarian cancer): The cancer is in one or both ovaries and has spread to the pelvic region, such as the fallopian tubes or uterus.

Stage III (stage 3 ovarian cancer): The cancer is in one or both ovaries, and the cancer has either spread beyond the pelvis to the lining of the abdomen or the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in the back of the abdomen.

Stage IV (stage 4 ovarian cancer): In the most advanced stage of ovarian cancer, the cancer has metastasized to distant sites, such as the inside of the spleen, liver, lungs or other organs outside the abdomen and pelvic region.

Next topic: How is ovarian cancer diagnosed?

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