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What Is Stage 1 Ovarian Cancer?

By Christina Edwards
Updated May 17, 2024
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Ovarian cancer occurs when there is a cancerous growth on the ovaries. This cancer usually occurs in stages. Doctors usually categorize a case as stage 1 ovarian cancer when the cancerous cells have not spread to other areas of the body. The symptoms of stage 1 ovarian cancer are often very mild, and many women don't even recognize them as signs of a serious problem. Early diagnosis and treatment are considered extremely important for survival.

The ovaries are an essential part of a mammalian female reproductive system. In humans, these are located in the pelvic region, one on each side of the uterus. The ovaries are responsible for producing the majority of the female hormones, along with the ovum, or eggs. Cancer of the ovaries can develop in either one or both of the ovaries. If the cancer has not spread to other areas of the body, such as the uterus, it is referred to as stage 1 ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer was often called the silent killer, since stage 1 ovarian cancer often has very few mild symptoms. These symptoms can very easily be mistaken for other, less serious, ailments. Some of these symptoms can include gas, bloating, indigestion, nausea, urinary problems, and back pain. Other symptoms of stage 1 ovarian cancer can include unusual vaginal bleeding or discharge, as well as painful intercourse.

Diagnosing stage 1 ovarian cancer includes a complete physical examination, including a pelvic examination. An ultrasound may be used as well to locate a cancerous growth in this area. Blood tests may also be used to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment for stage 1 ovarian cancer typically involves surgery. This may include surgical removal of one or both of the ovaries. Chemotherapy and radiation treatment may also be used to prevent the cancer from spreading.

When ovarian cancer begins to spread to other parts of the pelvic area, like the fallopian tubes or bladder, it is then referred to as stage 2 ovarian cancer. The third stage of ovarian cancer occurs when the cancer has spread to the abdominal lining or lymph nodes.

The final stage of ovarian cancer is known as stage 4 ovarian cancer. This occurs when the cancer spreads beyond the pelvic region and abdominal lining. Organs such as the lungs may be affected in this stage. This stage of ovarian cancer is the worst stage, and it is often considered to be the hardest to treat.

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Discussion Comments

By anon354726 — On Nov 11, 2013

i have discovered a lump towards opening of my vagina more than three months ago. Can this be a sign of cancer? The doctor said it is not cancerous. How do i make sure it is not cancerous? Is it possible to have it removed?

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