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NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Ovarian Cancer, Version 1.2017


Cancer staging

Staging systems | Ovarian cancer stages

Staging systems

A staging system is a standard way to describe the

extent of cancer in the body. There are two staging

systems for ovarian cancer: the AJCC (






ommittee on


ancer) staging system and the





ederation of


ynecology and


bstetrics) staging system. These staging systems

are very similar. But, the FIGO system is used most


In the FIGO system, the cancer stage is defined by

three main areas of cancer growth:



The extent of the first (primary) tumor



The spread of cancer to nearby lymph nodes



The spread of cancer to distant sites

The ovarian cancer stages are labeled by Roman

numerals I, II, III, and IV. The stages are also divided

into smaller groups. This helps to describe the extent

of cancer in more detail. The smaller groups are

labeled by adding letters and numbers to the Roman

numerals. The next section describes each cancer

stage as defined by the FIGO staging system.

Ovarian cancer stages

Ovarian cancers of the same stage tend to have

a similar prognosis. A prognosis is the likely or

expected course and outcome of a disease. In

general, earlier cancer stages have better outcomes.

But, doctors define cancer stages with information

from thousands of patients, so a cancer stage gives

an average outcome. It may not tell the outcome

for one person. Some people will do better than

expected. Others will do worse. Other factors not

used for cancer staging, such as your general health,

are also very important.

The stages of ovarian cancer are described next.

The cancer stages are defined by the FIGO staging


The best advice that I could offer someone facing an illness is to stay positive

no matter how much it tears you down, fight for the life you deserve, and please

be pro-active because no one at any age, class, or race is invincible to cancer,

disease, and illness.

- Christa