Ovarian Germ Cell Tumors Treatment
Stages of Ovarian Germ Cell Tumors
Key Points for this Section
After ovarian germ cell tumor has been diagnosed, tests
are done to find out if cancer cells have spread within the ovary or to other
parts of the body.
The process used to find out whether cancer has spread within the
ovary or to other parts of the body
is called staging. The information gathered from the
staging process determines the stage of the disease. It is important
to know the stage in
order to plan treatment. Certain tests are used in the staging process.
Many of the tests used to diagnose ovarian germ cell
tumor are also used to determine the stage of the disease.
Unless a doctor is sure the cancer has spread from the ovaries to other parts
of the body, surgery is required to determine the stage of cancer in an
operation called a laparotomy. The
doctor must cut into the abdomen and
carefully look at all the organs to see if they contain cancer. The doctor will
cut out small pieces of tissue and look at them under a microscope to see
whether they contain cancer. The doctor may also wash the
abdominal cavity with fluid and then
look at the fluid under a microscope to see if it contains cancer cells.
Usually the doctor will remove the cancer and other organs that contain cancer
during the laparotomy.
There are three ways that cancer spreads in the body.
The three ways that cancer spreads in the body are:
- Through tissue. Cancer invades the surrounding normal tissue.
- Through the lymph system. Cancer invades the lymph system and travels through the lymph vessels to other places in the body.
- Through the blood. Cancer invades the veins and capillaries and travels through the blood to other places in the body.
When cancer cells break away from the primary (original) tumor and travel through the lymph or blood to other places in the body, another (secondary) tumor may form. This process is called metastasis. The secondary (metastatic) tumor is the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if breast cancer spreads to the bones, the cancer cells in the bones are actually breast cancer cells. The disease is metastatic breast cancer, not bone cancer.
The following stages are used for ovarian germ cell
In stage I, cancer is found in one or both of the ovaries and has not spread. Stage I is divided into stage IA, stage
IB, and stage IC.
- Stage IA: Cancer is found in a single ovary.
- Stage IB: Cancer is found in both ovaries.
Stage IC: Cancer is found in one or both ovaries and one of the following is true:
In stage II, cancer is found in one or both ovaries and has spread into other areas of the pelvis. Stage II is divided into
stage IIA, stage IIB, and stage IIC.
- Stage IIA: Cancer has spread to the
uterus and/or the
fallopian tubes (the long slender
tubes through which eggs pass from the ovaries to the uterus).
- Stage IIB: Cancer has spread to other tissue within the
- Stage IIC: Cancer has spread to the uterus and/or fallopian
tubes and/or other tissue within the pelvis and cancer cells are found in the fluid of the peritoneal cavity (the body cavity that contains most of the organs in the abdomen) or in washings of the peritoneum (tissue lining the peritoneal cavity).
In stage III, cancer
is found in one or both ovaries and has spread to other parts of the abdomen.
Stage III is divided into stage IIIA, stage
IIIB, and stage IIIC as follows:
Cancer that has spread to the surface of the liver is also considered stage III disease.
In stage IV, cancer is
found in one or both ovaries and has metastasized (spread) beyond the abdomen to other parts of the body.
Cancer that has spread to tissues in the liver is also considered stage IV disease.