How fast does ovarian cancer develop?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Feb 18, 2012

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Ovarian cancer accounts for a significant proportion of all cancers that develop in women around the world. The very fact that the cancer is difficult to be diagnosed in the early stages, is itself a testimony to the complexity in its treatment.Ovarian cancer, of all known forms of cancer, spreads very quickly and thus would have already entered the second or third stage by the time it is diagnosed. There are no exact symptoms of the disease and the common ones are easily confused with other health conditions.

Ovarian cancer develops from an abnormal growth of cells that combine to form a tumour, and these are either benign or malignant. Benign tumours are quite harmless and recede in a couple of weeks. Malignant tumours that are formed inside, outside or on the wall of the ovaries are the main causes of Ovarian Cancer. The cancer cells break away from the malignant tumour, and enter the lymphatic system through the process of metastasis, to affect other parts of the body.

These cancer cells spread quickly in the body and damage nearby tissues and organs. Shedding of the cancer cells from the primary tumour leads to the growth of new tumours on the surface of the tissues and organs situated nearthe ovaries. It should however be noted that when the cells affect other organs in the body such as the lungs or the liver, the cancer cells found there are not called lung cancer or liver cancer, but metastasized ovarian cancer. This is because these cancerous cells exhibit the same abnormal conditions that they show in the ovaries.

Ovarian cancer is often known as a “silent killer”, as by the time the disease is diagnosed, it would have already proceeded to a stage in which it cannot be treated any more. Due to the fast spread of cancer cells, you need regular check-up in order to arrest the spread.

In stage 1 of the cancer, the malignant cells are contained within the walls of the ovary.


In stage 2, the the cancer cells start to spread and come out of the ovaries to invade the nearby fallopian tube and uterus that lie within the pelvic system.

Stage 3 of ovarian cancer is often the phase when patient becomes very critical, as the cancer ridden cells are found in the lymph nodes and the liver.


The treatment options are limited in this stage and the road to recovery is difficult to tread. Stage 4 is the final phase where the cells undergo further metastasis to enter distant organs such as the lungs. Needless to say, if the ovarian cancer is diagnosed in the early stages, it needs to be eliminated right away lest it turns out to be seriously harmful and even fatal.


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