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Stages and Grades – Ovarian Cancer

What is cancer staging?

Cancer’s stage can describe its location, if it has spread and whether it is impacting other areas of the body.

The stage of a cancer is determined by diagnostic testing; therefore, staging may not be complete until all of the tests have been completed. The doctor can suggest the best course of treatment when they are aware of the stage. The prognosis, or likelihood of recovery, for a patient can be predicted with the help of the stage. For many cancer kinds, several stage descriptions exist.

Stages of Ovarian, Fallopian and Peritoneal Cancer

The stage offers a uniform method of characterizing the malignancy, allowing medical professionals to collaborate to develop the most effective treatments.

Stage I: Only the ovaries or fallopian tubes are affected by the malignancy.

Stage IA: The malignancy affects only one ovary or fallopian tube. On the surface of the ovary, fallopian tubes, or abdomen, no malignancy was discovered.

Stage IB: Both ovaries or fallopian tubes have cancer. On the surface of the ovary, fallopian tube, peritoneal fluid, or washings, no malignancy was discovered.

Stage IC: Any of the following conditions exist, with cancer in 1 or both ovaries or fallopian tubes:

Stage IC1: During surgery to remove the tumor, a condition known as an intraoperative surgical spill occurs.

Stage IC2: Before surgery, the tumor wall has ruptured, or the surface of the ovary or fallopian tube has malignancy.

Stage IC3: Cancer cells are discovered in ascites, an accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity, or in fluid samples collected from the peritoneal cavity following surgery.

Stage II: The disease has spread below the pelvis and includes one or both ovaries, the fallopian tubes, or it is peritoneal cancer.

Stage IIA: The malignancy has affected the uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries.

Stage IIB: The cancer has metastasized to the pelvic tissues.

Stage III: The cancer has spread to either one or both ovaries, the fallopian tubes, or the peritoneum. In addition to the lymph nodes in the retroperitoneum (lymph nodes along the significant blood arteries, such as the aorta), it has also migrated to the peritoneum outside the pelvic.

Stage IIIA1: The peritoneal surfaces are unaffected, but the cancer has migrated to the retroperitoneal lymph nodes, which are located toward the back of the belly.

Stage IIIA1(i): Metastases, or areas of spread, are 10 millimeters (mm) or less in size.

Stage IIIA1(ii): Metastases that are greater than 10 mm.

Stage IV: The cancer has metastasized or spread to organs outside the abdomen.

Stage IVA: The malignancy has affected the fluid around the lungs.

Stage IVB: The cancer has spread to the liver, spleen, or other organs outside of the abdomen, such as lymph nodes in the groin.


Additionally, ovarian and fallopian tube malignancies are classified by grade by doctors. The grade reflects how similar cancer cells are to normal cells under a microscope.

The doctor contrasts healthy tissue with malignant tissue. As a result, the medical staff may be able to prescribe a treatment strategy and help the doctor determine how rapidly the disease may spread. Various cell types are typically clustered together in healthy tissue. It is referred to as “well-differentiated” or a “low-grade tumor” if the tumor contains diverse cell groupings and resembles healthy tissue in appearance. It is referred to as “poorly differentiated” or a “high-grade tumor” if the malignant tissue differs significantly from healthy tissue in appearance. The prognosis is often better the lower the tumor’s grade.

Some tumors have a limited malignant potential and are referred to as borderline tumors (LMP). They make up 10 to 15 percent of the aberrant cell growths known as epithelial ovarian/fallopian tube neoplasms, which are distinct from high-grade malignancies. Younger people are more likely to have borderline tumors, which are frequently isolated to one ovary but may occasionally affect both ovaries. The majority are serous tumors and may be connected to peritoneal tumors, which may be benign or aggressive.

The majority of ovarian/fallopian tube epithelial malignancies are serous in nature and are classified as either low-grade serous carcinoma (LGSC) or high-grade serous carcinoma (HGSC). These cancers differ in their biology and genetic changes.

These grades may be assigned to various ovarian/fallopian tube tumors, including endometrioid malignancies:

Grade 1: The tissue has good tissue differentiation. This indicates that the cells have a normal cell appearance and organization within the tumor. These tumors usually develop slowly.

Grade 2: There is a fair amount of tissue differentiation. It has characteristics in common with both well- and poorly differentiated. Grade 2 is not frequently employed.

Grade 3: The tissue has either little or no differentiation. All or most of the cells have a severely aberrant appearance and lack any recognizable tissue organization. These tumors have a propensity for rapid growth and dissemination.

Expert Guidance from Cancer Coach

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