Gynecologic cancer | Ovarian Cancer Staging
Answer: According to NCI's PDQ on ovarian cancer, the four main stages of ovarian cancer are:
Cancer is found only in one or both of the ovaries.
Cancer is found in one or both ovaries and/or has spread to the uterus, and/or the fallopian tubes (the pathway used by the egg to get from the ovary to the uterus), and/or other body parts within the pelvis.
Cancer is found in one or both ovaries and has spread to lymph nodes or to other body parts inside the abdomen, such as the surface of the liver or intestine. (Lymph nodes are small bean-shaped structures that are found throughout the body. They produce and store infection-fighting cells.)
Cancer is found in one or both ovaries and has spread outside the abdomen or has spread to the inside of the liver.
Additionally, within each stage, the letters "a", "b" and "c" are used to show increasing involvement.
The stages of ovarian cancer are described in more detail by the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition.
Cyndee, Pennsylvania, USA: My stage IIIc ovarian cancer was staged during debulking abdominal surgery. Debulking means removing as much of the tumor as possible. Although two large masses were removed, there was also cancer in the lining of my abdomen and rectum which could not be removed. Because the cancer had spread to the lining of my abdomen and to my diaphragm, I was surgically staged at IIIc.
You can read explanations of the four stages at the top of this page; the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition's detailed staging page which includes the sub-stages (a, b, c), a link is included.