Patients of ovarian cancer can survive and the chances of survival improve with early detection. The early symptoms of ovarian cancer may not be recognised right away. These include stomach discomfort such as feeling pressure, fullness and bloating that is felt or seen in a visibly expanded abdomen.
The ovarian cancer in first stage is limited to one or both the ovaries. There are three stages within this stage 1a, 1b and 1c. In stage 1a, the infection is in one ovary only, the capsule is intact and tumour has not spread to the surface of the ovary. Malignant cells are yet to affect the abdominal fluid or peritoneal washings. In 1b, both the ovaries are affected, capsule is intact, no tumour on the surface of ovary and negative washings.
In 1c, tumour is still limited to the ovaries, but either of these has occurred – rupture of capsule during or after surgery, development of tumour on the surface of ovary, cancer cells in the abdominal fluid and positive washings.
Stages 1 and 2 are considered early stages and patients can be expected to get the disease cured relatively easily. In this stage the cancer spreads beyond the ovary but it is still within the pelvis. The cancer spreads to fallopian tubes or uterus, can go up to the rectum or bladder and there can be positive peritoneal washings in this stage. Stage 2 patients have a survival rate between 50 to 70 percent.
In this stage, cancer spreads outside the pelvis and into the abdominal area. The cancer may be restricted to one or both the ovaries and be confined to the pelvis, while the cancerous development in the lining of abdomen are microscopic. Within stage 3, there might be implants of 2 cm or less on the abdominal peritoneal surfaces. The tumour growths may be larger than 2 cm and spread to upper abdomen, groin or at the back of the uterus. The survival rate of patients in this stage ranges between 20 to 40 percent.
In this stage of ovarian cancer, the most advanced form of the disease; it spreads to other organs of the body such as the liver or the lungs. Stage 3 and 4 are the advanced ovarian stages in which the survival rate is very low.
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