If your doctor says you have stage II ovarian cancer, it means the cancer has moved beyond your ovaries to areas nearby. It might be in the lining of your abdomen or in organs like your bladder or uterus. But it hasn't reached your lymph nodes or other parts of your body that are farther away.
There are several sub-stages within stage II:
IIA: Your doctor found cancer inside your fallopian tubes or uterus as well as in your ovary or ovaries.
IIB: You have cancer on the inside or outside of other organs near your ovaries, like your rectum and sigmoid colon.
IIC: There's cancer in your uterus and/or fallopian tubes or in different parts of your pelvis, and you also have one of these situations:
- Cancer on the outside of one or both ovaries.
- The casing surrounding your ovary is open. This could allow cancer cells to get into your abdomen and pelvis.
- There are cancer cells in fluid in your abdomen. Or your doctor finds them in a saltwater mixture they use to check for cancer cells in that area.
Understanding Survival Rates
Doctors use "5-year relative survival rates" to describe how likely someone is to die from a certain type of cancer. They measure how likely it is that people with that cancer will be alive 5 years after their diagnosis, compared to people who don't have it.
These numbers can't tell you how long you will live. That's because everyone's situation is different. But you can use them to help understand the possible outcomes.
Overall 5-year survival rates don't take stages of cancer into consideration. Instead, they group cancer into three categories according to how much it's spread: localized, regional, and distant. Stage II is closest to the "regional" category.
Here are 5-year relative survival rates for the three main types of ovarian cancer in that category:
- Invasive epithelial ovarian cancer: 76%. (People with this cancer are about 76% as likely as people who don't have it to live for at least 5 years after their diagnosis.)
- Ovarian germ cell tumors: 94%
- Ovarian stromal tumors: 89%
The first treatment for stage II ovarian cancer is usually surgery to remove the tumor. But the sub-stage and type of tumor you have guides your doctor’s choices about which surgery and how to treat you afterward.
Three main kinds of cells make up your ovaries. Each one can develop into a different tumor:
- Epithelial tumors come from the cells that surround the outside of the ovaries. These are the most common type of ovarian tumors.
- Germ cell tumors come from the cells that make your eggs.
- Stromal tumors develop from the tissue cells that make female hormones and keep your ovaries intact.
Invasive Epithelial Ovarian Cancer
Your doctor will do surgery to see how much your cancer has spread and take out as much of the tumor they can. You'll probably have a pair of surgeries called a hysterectomy (removal of your uterus) with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (removal of both ovaries and fallopian tubes).
Germ Cell Tumors
Your treatment may vary depending on what type of ovarian germ call tumor you have.
If it’s dysgerminoma, the most common type, your doctor will likely do a hysterectomy and a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. Then, you can get either radiation therapy or chemo using a combination of drugs (combination chemotherapy).
Or you may only have one ovary plus the fallopian tube on that side taken out (a unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy), followed by chemotherapy.
If you have a different type of germ cell tumor, you'll also probably have a salpingo-oophorectomy, followed by combination chemotherapy. You may need another surgery later on so your doctor can check for lingering cancer cells.
You can also ask your doctor about joining a clinical trial for a new treatment.
If you have this type of cancer, your doctor will remove the ovary that has the tumor. Afterward, you could get chemotherapy or hormone therapy.
Outcomes After Treatment
Your age, overall health, and other things play a role in your recovery. Every situation is different, and your doctor can help you navigate and understand yours.
At this stage, there's a 30% chance that your cancer will come back sometime after your first diagnosis. This percentage is much lower than when your cancer is at a later stage.