We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer?

By C. K. Lanz
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A woman has stage 3 ovarian cancer when the disease is present is one or both ovaries and abdominal lymph nodes or has spread beyond the pelvic region. There are three sub-categories within stage 3 ovarian cancer based on how far the disease has spread and how large the tumor implants are. Several tests including a pelvic examination, ultrasound, and tissue sample and blood analysis are performed to determine the stage of a patient’s cancer. Once the stage is determined, available treatment options and five-year survival rate can be discussed.

Stage 3 ovarian cancer is present in one or both ovaries but has also spread into the abdominal lining outside the pelvis and perhaps to nearby abdominal lymph nodes. The AJCC/TNM System determines the stage of ovarian cancer by describing the extent of the primary tumor and absence or presence of distant metastasis and metastasis to nearby lymph nodes. There are four stages of ovarian cancer; once the cancer extends beyond the ovaries, it will be staged as two, three, or four.

The first three stages of ovarian cancer are subdivided into three categories labeled a, b, and c. If the stage 3 ovarian cancer falls into subcategory a, then there is no cancer in the abdomen visible to the naked eye or in nearby lymph nodes. A subcategory b classification indicates that there is no cancer in nearby lymph nodes but there are visible tumor deposits in the abdomen that are smaller than .75 inches (two centimeters) across. When there is cancer in nearby lymph nodes and visible abdominal cancer deposits exceed .75 inches (2 cm) across, the disease will be staged as subcategory c.

The staging process usually begins with either surgery or imagining tests like an ultrasound, computerized tomography or magnetic resonance imaging. During surgery, the surgeon examines the abdomen for visible signs of cancer and often collects tissue and fluid samples. If cancer is visible, the surgeon can immediately begin removing it. Imaging tests are a less-invasive way to determine whether or not the cancer has spread beyond the ovaries.

Staging determines how widespread a patient’s cancer is. Ovarian cancer may be staged during surgery if other tests cannot obviously indicate how far the disease has spread. Accurate staging is crucial because different treatments and prognoses are associated with each stage of ovarian cancer. Mistaken staging can result in improper treatment and inaccurate prognosis.

Patients who wish to make informed decisions about their treatment should ask their treatment teams to explain the staging procedure in detail. The staging procedure should be thorough and the stage should be determined after surgery. The five-year survival rate for patients with stage 3 ovarian cancer ranges from 20 to 50 percent but such statistics are only predictive; every patient’s case is unique.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.