Before the doctors can talk about ovarian cancer staging, they have to perform a laparotomy in case of the patient to determine the damage that has been done by the cancer and to see in what stage the patient is in.
During this procedure the specialist will make an incision into the abdomen of the patient all the way to the ovaries.
In case the specialist finds that there is indeed cancer, then he or she will try to remove as much of the tumor as he or she can. The staging of the ovarian cancer can help the doctors estimate the extent of the surgery.
Sometimes it is enough to remove one of the ovaries and in this case the procedure is known as unilateral oopheroctomy.
Nonetheless in the majority of the cases the specialists removes both of them based on the staging of the ovarian cancer, along with the fallopian tubes, uterus and the omentum.
In order to be able to make an exact determination of the ovarian cancer staging, it might be needed to perform a biopsy of the abdominal lymph nodes and of the pelvic area.
In the end the abdominal cavity is cleaned with the help of a fluid that is later removed and analyzed with the help of a microscope in order to find the cancerous cells.
In order to make sure that he or she won’t make a mistake, while doing the staging of the ovarian cancer, the doctor also studies the histopathology report of the patient along with the blood tests, needle biopsy, imaging studies and the other tests that have been performed.
In case the ovarian cancer staging is done correctly it offers and estimation of the survival without having cancerous cells, and it also offers information regarding the risks of relapse or recurrence. It is also used in finding the right treatment method for each of the patients.
The system used in the staging of the ovarian cancer
There are four stages that we can refer to. In stage I the cancer can be found in one or both of the ovaries, but it didn’t spread to the surrounding organs. In the second stage the cancer has spread to the other pelvic organs as well such as the fallopian tubes and the uterus but it hasn’t spread to the other abdominal organs yet.
According to the ovarian cancer staging, in the third stage the cancerous cells can be found in the abdominal organs as well, like the liver, abdominal lymph nodes and the bowel. In the last stage of the disease the cancerous cells can be found in distant organs too.
In case we are talking about recurrent cancer according to the staging of ovarian cancer, it means that the cancer has returned even though the patient has finished the treatment.
Usually ovarian cancer staging happens only once and this classification doesn’t change although the cancer could metastasize to other body parts as well or we could be talking about recurring cancer.