Ovarian Cancer Overview
The ovarian cells grow in an uncontrolled abnormal manner and form tumors in one or both the ovaries thus leading to the ovarian cancer.
As known the ovaries are a part of female reproductive system placed on either side of the uterus.
It is understood that this ovarian cancer occurs only in women and is the most common in women.
Early detection of the disease and prompt treatment helps in giving better results or prognosis. The research has shown evidence that this ovarian cancer does show symptoms or signs in its early stages as well. (Ovarian Cancer Symptoms)
But in spite of this awareness majority of the ovarian cancer cases are reported only in the advanced stage when the recovery becomes difficult.
Ovarian Cancer Stage
The ovarian cancer stage is determined to know to what extent the disease has spread. For this purpose an exploratory laparotomy is done to the patients by the specialist usually a gynecologic oncologist.
The stage of the ovarian cancer is determined depending on the histopathology report from the samples obtained from the above procedure called laparotomy. Also the other tests performed such as the needle biopsy, blood tests, imaging studies help in determining the stage of the cancer.
By staging an estimation of disease-free survival, the overall survival, and the risk for recurrence or relapse is determined. Finally staging helps the doctor and the patient to choose the best method of treatment(s).
There are four distinct ovarian cancer stages apart from the recurrent stage. They are as follows:
- Stage I: When ovarian cancer is confined to one or both ovaries it is assigned as Stage I
- Stage II: When ovarian cancer has spread to pelvic organs including the uterus and fallopian tubes but has not spread to abdominal organs it is assigned as Stage II
- Stage III: is the ovarian cancer that has spread to abdominal organs (e.g., abdominal lymph nodes, liver, bowel).
- Stage IV: is the ovarian cancer that has spread outside to distant sites (e.g., lung, brain, lymph nodes in the neck).
- Recurrent: This is the most advanced stage where the Ovarian cancer has recurred (come back) even though the patient has completed treatment.
This assignment of the stage continues in every aspect without being changed for any reason. Even if the cancer spreads t any other part or region or organ or even if the cancer recurs the stage remains the same.
Ovarian Cancer Prognosis and Survival Rate
As with many other types of cancer, the outcome depends on how advanced the cancer is when it is diagnosed. In other words, the ovarian cancer prognosis and survival rate depends on the stage of the cancer.
According to the statistics the 5 year survival rate of the patients affected by this ovarian cancer is almost 40 - 50%. For the stage 1 the survival rate is explained as about 9 out of 10 women diagnosed will be alive for 5 years later. For Stage 2 ovarian cancer patients this is about 60-70%.
As the stage 3 & 4 are the advanced stages the prognosis and the survival rate decreases. It is estimated that the survival rate for the stage 3 is 15 - 35% and for stage 4 it is 5%-14%. However these figures vary depending on the patient overall health and the treatment also.