What Is Stage 3c Ovarian Cancer?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 01 January 2019
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Stage 3c ovarian cancer generally refers to cancer which has affected at least one ovary as well as lymph nodes or other areas close to the primary site, usually within the abdominal cavity. Cancer may also spread to the other reproductive organs, such as the uterus and cervix. During this stage, cancer has generally not spread to areas out of the abdomen, such as the lungs, bones, or neck.

Ovarian cancer is one of the most deadly malignancies affecting women, primarily because it is difficult to detect in its early stages. There are often no symptoms until the cancer has spread, and even then they can be vague and easy to miss. Women are generally diagnosed and staged, with stage 1 cancers being the least severe and easiest and treat and stage 4 cancers being the most progressed. Stage 3c ovarian cancer is one step below the most advanced stage.


By the time a woman is diagnosed with stage 3c ovarian cancer, the best treatment is often to remove one or both ovaries as well as any lymph nodes which are affected. Additional tumors, if present, are also typically removed. Chemotherapy is often performed after this to destroy any remaining cancer cells within the body. Radiation treatments may also be performed if necessary. The prognosis for stage 3c ovarian cancer varies widely based on how far the cancer has spread, where it has spread, and how aggressive each particular cancer is.

Some cancers respond better to treatment than others. Ovarian cancer is often fatal when caught in its later stages, but this is different for every woman. Emerging therapies are being developed which may make finding, diagnosing and treating ovarian cancers more effective. The overall survival rate for ovarian cancer patients have improved in recent years, but the prognosis for stage 3c ovarian cancer remains poor.

Symptoms of ovarian cancer can include, but are not limited to, unusual vaginal bleeding, abdominal discomfort, bloating, digestive upset, and fatigue. These symptoms often only occur once the cancer has spread to other areas or when a tumor has grown very large. Sometimes digestive symptoms are the first clue to illness because the primary tumor presses against the colon or intestines, making digestion more difficult. Although there are no annual physical exams which are recommended for the detection of ovarian cancer, sometimes the yearly pap test can indicate cancer if cells have spread into the cervix.



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