Stages describe the level of tumor cell involvement and how widespread the cancer is.  Women with ovarian cancer are frequently diagnosed at Stage IIIC. This is because the symptoms of ovarian cancer are often ignored or misdiagnosed until urgent issues arise

Stage I - Tumor confined to ovaries and considered an early cancer

  • Stage IA - Cancer cells are present in one ovary or fallopian tube
  • Stage IB - Cancer cells are present in both ovaries, or in both fallopian tubes
  • Stage IC - Cancer cells are present in one or both ovaries and/or fallopian tubes, and one of the following:
    • The outside of the ovaries or fallopian tubes has cancer cells;
    • The covering of the ovary, called the capsule, has broken open; or
    • Cancer cells are found in your peritoneal cavity, its tissue lining, or fluid from your abdomen

Stage II - Cancer has begun to spread

  • Stage IIA - Cancer has spread from the ovary or ovaries to the fallopian tubes and/or the uterus, or it has spread from the fallopian tubes to the ovaries and/or uterus
  • Stage IIB - Cancer has spread in the peritoneal cavity to your bladder, colon, or rectum

Stage III - Cancer is more advanced

  • Stage IIIA1 - Cancer cells have spread to the closest lymph nodes, called the retroperitoneal lymph nodes
  • Stage IIIA2 - Cancer cells have spread to the outside the pelvis to the peritoneum (lining).  The cancer may also have spread to nearby lymph nodes
  • Stage IIIB - Cancer inside the peritoneum can be seen by the surgeon, but is still 2 centimeters or smaller.  The cancer has also spread outside the pelvis.  It may have spread to nearby lymph nodes
  • Stage IIIC - Cancer has grown to 2 centimeters in diameter or larger, and has spread to the peritoneum outside the pelvis.   It may also have spread the outside of the liver and/or the spleen, as well as nearby lymph nodes

Stage IV - Cancer is the most advanced form of ovarian cancer

  • Stage IVA - Cancer cells are found in extra fluid that has built up around the lungs
  • Stage IVB - Cancer has spread to the inside of the spleen lungs or liver