Ovarian Low Malignant Potential Tumors Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI] - Stages of Ovarian Low Malignant Potential Tumors

After ovarian low malignant potential tumor has been diagnosed, tests are done to find out if abnormal cells have spread within the ovary or to other parts of the body.

The process used to find out whether abnormal cells have spread within the ovary or to other parts of the body is called staging. The information gathered from the staging process determines the stage of the disease. It is important to know the stage in order to plan treatment. Certain tests or procedures are used for staging. Staging laparotomy (a surgical incision made in the wall of the abdomen to remove ovarian tissue) may be used. Most patients are diagnosed with stage I disease.

The following stages are used for ovarian low malignant potential tumor:

Stage I

In stage I, the tumor is found in one or both ovaries. Stage I is divided into stage IA, stage IB, and stage IC.

  • Stage IA: The tumor is found inside a single ovary.
  • Stage IB: The tumor is found inside both ovaries.
  • Stage IC: The tumor is found inside one or both ovaries and one of the following is true:
    • tumor cells are found on the outside surface of one or both ovaries; or
    • the capsule (outer covering) of the ovary has ruptured (broken open); or
    • tumor cells are found in the fluid of the peritoneal cavity (the body cavity that contains most of the organs in the abdomen) or in washings of the peritoneum (tissue lining the peritoneal cavity).

Stage II

In stage II, the tumor is found in one or both ovaries and has spread into other areas of the pelvis. Stage II is divided into stage IIA, stage IIB, and stage IIC.

  • Stage IIA: The tumor has spread to the uterus and/or fallopian tubes (the long slender tubes through which eggs pass from the ovaries to the uterus).
  • Stage IIB: The tumor has spread to other tissue within the pelvis.
  • Stage IIC: The tumor is found inside one or both ovaries and has spread to the uterus and/or fallopian tubes, or to other tissue within the pelvis. Also, one of the following is true:
    • tumor cells are found on the outside surface of one or both ovaries; or
    • the capsule (outer covering) of the ovary has ruptured (broken open); or
    • tumor cells are found in the fluid of the peritoneal cavity (the body cavity that contains most of the organs in the abdomen) or in washings of the peritoneum (tissue lining the peritoneal cavity).

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Stage III

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Pea, peanut, walnut, and lime show tumor sizes.

In stage III, the tumor is found in one or both ovaries and has spread outside the pelvis to other parts of the abdomen and/or nearby lymph nodes. Stage III is divided into stage IIIA, stage IIIB, and stage IIIC.

  • Stage IIIA: The tumor is found in the pelvis only, but tumor cells that can be seen only with a microscope have spread to the surface of the peritoneum (tissue that lines the abdominal wall and covers most of the organs in the abdomen), the small intestines, or the tissue that connects the small intestines to the wall of the abdomen.
  • Stage IIIB: The tumor has spread to the peritoneum and the tumor in the peritoneum is 2 centimeters or smaller.
  • Stage IIIC: The tumor has spread to the peritoneum and the tumor in the peritoneum is larger than 2 centimeters and/or has spread to lymph nodes in the abdomen.

The spread of tumor cells to the surface of the liver is also considered stage III disease.

Stage IV

In stage IV, tumor cells have spread beyond the abdomen to other parts of the body, such as the lungs or tissue inside the liver.

Tumor cells in the fluid around the lungs is also considered stage IV disease.

Ovarian low malignant potential tumors almost never reach stage IV.

WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute
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