Ovarian Cancer Stages & Treatment

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If you think, or know, you have ovarian cancer, you're understandably worried about your future. Ovarian cancer often goes undetected for years. Yes, this makes it a tough cancer to treat.

But we have tougher treatments for all ovarian cancer stages and types. Even women facing ovarian cancer at an advanced stage are living longer and with a high quality of life.

Why Choose UVA Health

At UVA Health, you'll find the most innovative treatment for all ovarian cancer stages. Our physicians are some of the nation’s top doctors in gynecologic oncology (cancer care focused on women's reproductive organs). They're widely recognized in their field for not only treating cancer but preventing it as well. They're a big reason we're an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center. 

    US News Ovarian Cancer Surgery High-Performing badge

    Top-Rated Ovarian Cancer Surgery & Care

    U.S. News & World Report has named our cancer services as “high performing.” This puts us in the top 10% of the country. Our ovarian cancer surgery procedures are rated as “high performing" as well.

    We're also the only cancer center in Virginia listed in Becker’s 100 hospitals and health systems with great oncology programs. 

    What's Gynecologic Oncology & Why You Need This Expertise? 

    At UVA Cancer Center, you won't just find experts who treat cancer. You'll have a team of gynecologic oncology experts. They focus their careers on beating cancers that strike the female reproductive system. 

    Here's why you'll want to get a second opinion at UVA before starting treatment. We have the region’s only gynecologic oncology team made up of:

    • Gynecologic cancer surgeons
    • Gynecologic pathologists
    • Radiation oncologists
    • Clinical research coordinators
    • Oncology nurses
    • Genetic counselors

    This team means you'll get state-of-the-art care tailored to your needs and based on the stage of your cancer.

    Our physicians, nurses, researchers, and other staff members provide care to thousands of women with gynecologic cancers. 

    Ovarian Cancer Treatment at UVA Health

    Throughout treatment, you'll have a gynecologic oncologist overseeing all aspects of your care. Like other women before you, you'll likely build a strong connection with your care team.

    Your treatment will be tailored around the your ovarian cancer stage and type. If you need surgery, a gynecologic oncologist will provide expert and innovative surgery to remove all of the cancer. This may include robotic-assisted and minimally invasive surgery. Our expertise means you'll recover faster and with less pain.

    We usually treat ovarian cancer with both surgery and chemotherapy. We also offer targeted therapies such as PARP inhibitors. We have clinical trials evaluating immunotherapy. While chemotherapy kills cancer cells, immunotherapy helps your own immune system fight off cancer cells.

    If standard treatments don't work for you, you may qualify for a clinical trial. A clinical trial can give you access to a treatment before it may become the new standard of care. We have trials for many ovarian cancer stages. Learn more about clinical trials available at UVA Cancer Center. 

    Types of Ovarian Cancer 

    Ovarian cancer occurs in the ovary. This type of cancer may start in the fallopian tubes or in the peritoneal cavity (the space within the abdomen that contains the intestines, the stomach, and the liver). 

    There are three types of ovarian cancer. The type depends on the kind of cells where the cancer grows.

    • Epithelial cells cover the surface of the ovary. Most of the tumors that grow here are benign, or not cancer. About 85% to 90% of ovarian cancer cases are epithelial ovarian cancer.
    • Germ cells form in the eggs in the ovary. We call the tumors that form here germ cell ovarian cancer.
    • Stromal cells form in the ovary and produce female hormones.

    Some types of ovarian cancer have a genetic link. If you have a family history of ovarian cancer, you'll want to learn more about our program for high-risk ovarian cancer.

    Ovarian Cancer Stages

    Like other cancers, ovarian cancer has 4 main stages. A stage describes how much the cancer has spread and where it is located in the body.

    Stage 1
    The cancer is only in one or both ovaries or fallopian tubes. We know that most ovarian cancer starts in the fallopian tubes.

    Stage 2 
    Means the cancer has spread to nearby organs like the bladder or uterus.

    Stage 3
    The cancer has spread to lymph nodes or to locations outside of the pelvic area.

    Stage 4
    This ovarian cancer stage means cancer has spread throughout the body. It may have spread to the lungs, liver, spleen or bones. 

    Support that Surrounds You

    Facing cancer is often a lifelong journey. No matter what stage of the journey you're on, find extensive personal support for you and your family.

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