Authored by Kristian Keefer in Diseases
Published on 02-27-2009
Ovarian cancer is most frequently seen in woman who are at least the age of 50 and often having already gone through menopause. However, younger women must be aware that ovarian cancer can strike a woman at any age. A woman can have ovarian cancer for some time without suspecting that anything is wrong. Symptoms are often minimal or non-existent in the earliest stages of ovarian cancer. Sadly, the cancer can spread to other organs before a woman even receives a diagnosis.
In the first stage of cancer, there are three subcategories. In sub stage A, a woman only has cancer in one ovary. A woman is classified as having Stage B cancer if the cancer is in both ovaries rather than just one. Sub stage C of Stage 1 ovarian cancer is the stage in which cancerous cells are also found outside of the ovaries. In some cases cancer has spread and is now located in cells in the abdomen or other areas of the abdomen found outside of the ovaries.
There are also three sub stages of Stage II ovarian cancer. Stage II cancer is more aggressive than the first stage. A woman can have cancer in both ovaries or even in just one during this stage. Sadly, during this stage of ovarian cancer, the cancer cells have already started to spread beyond the ovaries. Sub stage A is the category of Stage II cancer when cancerous cells have invaded the fallopian tubes, the uterus or both. In sub stage B, cancer has spread to any number of organs in the pelvic region. Stage II category C is the stage when cancer is found in the uterus, fallopian tubes and/on one or more pelvic organs. Cells in the abdominal cavity can also be invaded with cancer at this point as well.
There are three stages of Stage III ovarian cancer when cancer is in the abdomen and is spreading to any number of organ tissues and organs. In section A of Stage III, cancer is in the ovaries and the belly region. If the cancer spreads to the lining of the abdominal cavity, the cancer is labeled as Stage IIIB unless the cancer has invaded more than 2 centimeters of the lining (Stage IIIC). At this point, cancer might also be found in the lymph nodes. A woman’s prognosis is getting progressively worse at this stage.
Stage IV ovarian cancer is the worst stage of all. Cancer can be found in virtually any organ of the body in this stage. Even the most invasive treatments are often not enough to combat ovarian cancer at this point.
Although the first stages of ovarian cancer are often asymptomatic, a woman should consult her gynecologist if she has any concerns. A woman should talk to her doctor if she is having unexplained pelvic pain or uterine bleeding. The same is true if a woman is having frequent or unexplained bladder difficulties. A constant feeling of being full or being bloated can also be a warning sign. It is important for woman to keep up with their annual gynecological exams to help detect any possible problems.