Surgical Staging

When ovarian cancer is diagnosed, it is vital to determine if the cancer has spread beyond the ovaries. Your treatment team may do more tests to determine if the cancer has spread. In addition, during surgery, certain additional steps should be performed to determine the extent of the disease. This process is called staging. Staging helps to determine the exact extent of your cancer and what treatment plan is best for you.

Following surgery, your cancer will be categorized into one of the following stages:

Stage I: The cancer is found in one or both ovaries. Cancer cells also may be found on the surface of the ovaries or in fluid collected from the abdomen.

Stage II: The cancer has spread from one or both ovaries to other tissues in the pelvis, such as the fallopian tubes or uterus. Cancer cells may also be found in fluid collected from the abdomen.

Stage III: The cancer has spread outside the pelvis or nearby lymph nodes.
Most commonly the cancer spreads to the omentum (an apron of fatty tissue that hangs down from the colon and stomach), diaphragm, intestine and the outside (surface) of the liver.

Stage IV: The cancer has spread to tissues outside the abdomen and pelvis. Most commonly the cancer has spread to the space around the lungs. If the cancer spreads inside the liver or spleen, it is considered stage IV.

The cancer will also be assigned a grade. Grade refers to how abnormal the cells appear under a microscope. Low grade tumors, also called grade 1, have features that resemble normal ovarian cells. In contrast, in high grade tumors (grades 3) the microscopic appearance is greatly altered from normal.

Spotlight

After surviving cancer, women look for a community of support and guidance. In a video produced by the Society of Gynecologic Oncology, survivors share how they live and thrive after endometrial cancer. As described by one survivor, “You can get better.”  

Awareness

September is Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month.  After creating the month in 1999, the Foundation strives to bring attention about these cancers through public awareness campaigns.

Research

The Foundation is proud to offer various Research Grants and Awards. Click here for more information.

Education

FREE Gynecologic Cancer Survivors Courses throughout the country. For more information, click here.