Note: The American Joint Committee on Cancer has recently published a new edition of the AJCC Cancer Staging Manual, which includes revisions to the staging for this disease. The PDQ Adult Treatment Editorial Board, which is responsible for maintaining this summary, is currently reviewing the new staging to determine the changes that need to be made in the summary. In addition to updating this Stage Information section, additional changes may need to be made to other parts of this summary to ensure that it is up-to-date. The changes will be made as soon as possible.
The Federation Internationale de Gynecologie et d'Obstetrique and the American Joint Committee on Cancer have designated staging.[1,2]
Although ovarian cancer rarely produces symptoms in its earliest stages, eventual warning signs may include:
Vague digestive disturbances, such as mild indigestion, bloating, feeling of fullness, or loss of appetite, gas
Diarrhea, constipation, or a frequent need to urinate
Pain or swelling in the abdomen, or pain in the lower back or pelvic pressure
Vaginal bleeding between menstrual periods or after menopause
Shortness of breath
Symptoms associated with advanced ovarian...
Stage IA: Tumor limited to one ovary; capsule intact, no tumor on ovarian surface. No malignant cells in ascites or peritoneal washings.*
Stage IB: Tumor limited to both ovaries; capsules intact, no tumor on ovarian surface. No malignant cells in ascites or peritoneal washings.*
Stage IC: Tumor limited to one or both ovaries with any of the following: capsule ruptured, tumor on ovarian surface, malignant cells in ascites or peritoneal washings.
*The term, malignant ascites, is not classified. The presence of ascites does not affect staging unless malignant cells are present.
Stage II ovarian cancer is tumor involving one or both ovaries with pelvic extension and/or implants.
Stage IIA: Extension and/or implants on the uterus and/or fallopian tubes. No malignant cells in ascites or peritoneal washings.
Stage IIB: Extension to and/or implants on other pelvic tissues. No malignant cells in ascites or peritoneal washings.
Stage IIC: Pelvic extension and/or implants (stage IIA or stage IIB) with malignant cells in ascites or peritoneal washings.
Different criteria for allotting cases to stage IC and stage IIC have an impact on diagnosis. To assess this impact, of value would be to know if rupture of the capsule was (1) spontaneous or (2) caused by the surgeon; and, if the source of malignant cells detected was (1) peritoneal washings or (2) ascites.
Stage III ovarian cancer is tumor involving one or both ovaries with microscopically confirmed peritoneal implants outside the pelvis. Superficial liver metastasis equals stage III. Tumor is limited to the true pelvis but with histologically verified malignant extension to small bowel or omentum.
Stage IIIA: Microscopic peritoneal metastasis beyond pelvis (no macroscopic tumor).
Stage IIIB: Macroscopic peritoneal metastasis beyond pelvis 2 cm or less in greatest dimension.
Stage IIIC: Peritoneal metastasis beyond pelvis more than 2 cm in greatest dimension and/or regional lymph node metastasis.
Stage IV ovarian cancer is tumor involving one or both ovaries with distant metastasis. If pleural effusion is present, positive cytologic test results must exist to designate a case to stage IV. Parenchymal liver metastasis equals stage IV. (For more information on pleural effusion, refer to the Cardiopulmonary Syndromes summary.)
Ovarian low malignant potential tumors almost never reach stage IV.