Ovarian tumor size: does it matter, cancer stage and treatment? (2023)

Doctors consider the size of the ovarian tumor to categorize a person's cancer and select their treatments. Smaller tumors are not always indicative of early-stage disease, and the size of the tumor can affect treatment and prognosis.

Correspondentsurvey 2019, from a group of 540 women, internal medicine physicians,gynecologists, and ER doctors were more likely to diagnose ovarian cancer.

The authors found that women with early-stage ovarian cancer were more likely to have postmenstrual bleeding and a mass they could feel.

This article discusses the size of ovarian tumors and their impact on the stage of the cancer. It also explains the different types of ovarian cancer tumors, the stage of the cancer, treatment, and prognosis.

Does the size of an ovarian tumor matter?

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Doctors use the size of the tumor to determine the stage of a person's cancer, and the size of the tumor can affect the types of treatments a doctor may recommend.

By analyzing a sample, doctors look at what a person's cells look like. If they look healthy, the doctor will describe them as well differentiated. These cells are of a lower grade than those that don't look healthy, what doctors call poorly differentiated or undifferentiated.

  • Class X:This means that a doctor was unable to assess the grade.
  • 1st class:This refers to low-grade, well-differentiated tumors.
  • Usage 2:This grade is for moderately differentiated cells in intermediate grade tumors.
  • 3rd year:This applies to poorly differentiated or high grade tumors.
  • Class 4:This final grade is for high grade undifferentiated tumors.

the authors ofsurvey 2018found that tumors in stage 1 ovarian cancer may be larger than in stage 3. However, they note that these results come from only two smaller studies and more research is needed.

The authors write that a larger stage 1 tumor may mean people seek a diagnosis faster because their symptoms may be more noticeable and the tumors more visible.ultrasound.

In addition, they found that study participants with stage 1 cancer had a higher 5-year survival rate than those with stage 3 cancer: 75% and 26%, respectively. This may indicate that the size of the tumor does not always predict a person's survival rate.

survey 2022in ovarian cancer supports this and concludes that tumor size may be a useful way to assess a person's prognosis, although more research is needed. The authors found that people with tumors up to 8 centimeters (cm) had better 5-year survival rates than those with larger tumors.

However,oldest searchto other types of cancer, such as breast cancer, question certain facts. This includes if a larger breast cancer tumor indicates more severe disease and a worse prognosis.

In general, experts need more research to determine how much tumor size affects a person's stage of cancer, prognosis, and treatment options.

(Video) What is the Survival Rate of Ovarian Cancer?

types of tumors

Doctors may classify ovarian tumors as one of theseThreeThe type:

  • Tumor epitelial:This type begins to grow from the cells that line the outer surface of the ovary.
  • Germ cell tumors:A germ cell tumor begins to grow from the cells that make eggs, or eggs.
  • Stromatumor:This type begins to grow from cells that make hormones.estrogenmiprogesteroneand support the structure of the ovary, the so-called ovarian stroma.

Most ovarian tumors develop from epithelial cells.

However, not all tumors are malignant. Ovarian tumors can also be:

  • benigno:Benign tumors that have never spread beyond the ovaries.
  • Frontera:Less severe, slow-growing borderline tumors do not grow into the ovarian stroma but may spread beyond it. These usually affect younger women.
  • Malignant:These are malignant tumors.

California85%–90%of malignant ovarian carcinoma are epithelial ovarian carcinomas.

ovarian cyststhey are not always cancerous. Cysts develop when fluid builds up in the ovary and is usually a normal part of the ovary.Ovulation. These are functional cysts that usually go away without treatment after a few months.

However, cysts occur in women who do not ovulate, such as B. in women who have not yet menstruated or in older women.Menopause, it can be cancerous.

A person should always see a doctor to check for ovarian cysts.

Learn more about the link between ovarian cysts and cancer.

ovarian cancer staging

Doctors use one of theof the systemsto determine the stage of ovarian cancer: the FIGO (International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics) system and the AJCC (American Joint Committee on Cancer) TNM staging system. However, these systems are essentially the same.

The three factors that these systems use to classify ovarian cancer include:

(Video) Understanding Ovarian Cancer Stages and Symptoms

  • Tumores (T):This refers to the size or extent of the tumor and whether it affects the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or nearby organs such as the uterus or bladder.
  • We do not):This factor is related to whether the ovarian cancer has spread to lymph nodes near or around the pelvis.Aorta, the main artery that runs from theHerzat the pool.
  • Metastasis (M):Metastasis refers to whether the ovarian cancer has spread to distant sites, such as B. to other organs, the bones, or the fluid around the lungs, which is known to be cancerous.Pleuraerguss.

Doctors put numbers or letters after T, N, and M to indicate how far the cancer has progressed and to provide other information. For example, T1 means that the cancer is only present in the ovaries or fallopian tubes, while M0 means that the cancer has not spread.

Doctors then collect and evaluate all of this information to determine the overall stage of a person's cancer.

When a doctor can't get enough information about a person's tumor, or when they can't find evidence of a tumor, they use the following categories:

  • Of you:This means that there is not enough information to evaluate the tumor.
  • T0:This means that a doctor has not been able to find any evidence of a tumor.
  • NX:This means that a doctor did not have enough information to assess the lymph nodes.

In accordance withAmerican Cancer Society (ACS), staging can be clinical or surgical. Clinical staging considers the results of a physical examination, biopsy, and imaging tests. Doctors can do this before surgery.

In surgical staging, the doctor examines tissue removed during surgery.

Doctors can also determine the stage of cancer after a person has received cancer treatment or when the cancer has come back.


Usually, a person will undergo surgery and chemotherapy.treatovarian cancer. However, depending on the stage of the cancer and the type of ovarian cancer, people may receive other treatments before or after surgery.

Learn more about ovarian cancer treatments by stage.

The exact type of treatment a person is receivingcan dependa:

  • the type of ovarian cancer
  • the stage of ovarian cancer
  • any other special consideration

ThatACSwrites that treatments for ovarian cancer can be local, just at the site of the tumor, or systemic, taken by mouth or introduced into the bloodstream.

Local treatments include surgery andradiotherapy.

Systemic treatments include:

  • Chemotherapy:A person may receive a combination of two chemotherapy drugs for ovarian cancer, as this may be more effective. Usually, a person will receive all of this through an intravenous (IV) line.3-4 weeks. Chemotherapy can shrink and kill tumors, although cancer cells can eventually start to grow again.
  • Hormonal therapy:These can be medicines likeTamoxifenand aromatase inhibitors, which doctors often use to treat breast cancer. These drugs block the production of estrogen to stop the growth of cancer cells.
  • Targeted drug therapy:This treatment aims to attack cancer cells with minimal damage to healthy cells. You canMetathe way cancer cells grow, divide, repair, and interact with other cells, preventing them from working properly.


there is onestrong associationbetween a person's view of life and the stage of the disease at the time of diagnosis. A doctor can describe a person's prospects in terms of a 5- or 10-year survival rate.

survival rates

Thatsurvival raterefers to the proportion of people who live a period of

Time after receiving a specific diagnosis. For example, a 5-year survival rate of 50%

it means that 50% or half of people are still alive 5 years after being diagnosed.

Arelative survival ratehelps give an idea of ​​how long a person with a dice

The condition is living after receiving a diagnosis compared to those without the condition.

For example, if the 5-year relative survival rate is 70%, that means that a person with the

They are 70% more likely to live to 5 years than someone without the condition.

It is important to remember that these numbers are estimates and are based on

Results of previous studies or treatments. A person can consult a health service

(Video) The 4 Stages of Ovarian Cancer by Dr. Ruchi Garg

professionally about how your condition will affect you.

A person's chances of survivalat least 5 yearsafter an ovarian cancer diagnosis depends on the type of tumor and how it has spread.

5-year survival rates can range from25–80%in people whose cancer has spread to other tissues.

Average 10-year survival rates are now around 40-50%. This can increase to 70-92% in people with stage 1 cancer and decrease to 6% in people with stage 4 cancer.

ThatACSuses information from the SEER database to calculate survival rates based on people diagnosed with ovarian cancer between 2011 and 2017. Instead of using stages, this database uses the following groups when defining survival rates: localized, regional and remote.

localized ovarian cancer

If the ovarian cancer has not spread beyond the primary tumor site, the approximate relative survival rates are:

  • invasive epithelial ovarian cancer - 93%
  • Ovarian stromal tumors - 97%
  • Ovarian germ cell tumors: 98%

regional ovarian cancer

When ovarian cancer has spread outside the ovaries to nearby tissues or lymph nodes, the approximate relative survival rates may be as follows:

  • invasive epithelial ovarian cancer - 75%
  • Ovarian stromal tumors - 90%
  • Ovarian germ cell tumors: 94%

remote ovarian cancer

When ovarian cancer has spread to parts of the body farther away from the ovaries, such as the liver or lungs, a person's relative survival rates may be:

  • invasive epithelial ovarian cancer - 31%
  • Ovarian stromal tumors - 70%
  • Ovarian germ cell tumors: 74%
(Video) Ovarian Cancer Explained (Including Subtypes)


The size of an ovarian tumor is an important factor that doctors consider during a person's illness. Advanced stage cancers sometimes have smaller tumors than early stage cancers.

However, more research is needed to examine a definitive link between tumor size, cancer stage, and a person's prognosis.

The degree of spread of ovarian cancer is also an important factor that doctors consider when evaluating the stage of a person's cancer and considering treatment for that person.

Learn more about ovarian cancer with our dedicated content hub.


Does the size of the tumor matter in ovarian cancer? ›

The size of an ovarian tumor is an important factor that doctors consider throughout a person's illness. Sometimes, later-stage cancers present with smaller tumors than early-stage cancers. However, more research is necessary to investigate a definitive link between tumor size, cancer stage, and a person's outlook.

Does size of tumor indicate stage of cancer? ›

The stage of a cancer describes the size of a tumour and how far it has spread from where it originated. The grade describes the appearance of the cancerous cells.

What size tumor is considered large for ovarian cancer? ›

Ovarian masses are considered large if they have diameters between 5 and 15 cm, when they are bigger than 20 cm they are usually named giant.

Does Stage 1a ovarian cancer need chemo? ›

Stage 1 ovarian cancer means the cancer is only in the ovaries. Surgery is the main treatment. Some women need chemotherapy.

How fast do cancerous ovarian tumors grow? ›

Ovarian cancer grows quickly and can progress from early stages to advanced within a year. With the most common form, malignant epithelial carcinoma, the cancer cells can grow out of control quickly and spread in weeks or months.

Which ovarian tumor has best prognosis? ›

Most women with Stage 1 ovarian cancer have an excellent prognosis, with an average 5-year survival rate of 93%.

Does tumor size affect prognosis? ›

Tumor size is related to prognosis (chances for survival) and is part of breast cancer staging. In most cases, the smaller the tumor, the better the prognosis tends to be. A health care provider can estimate the size of the tumor if it can be felt during a physical exam.

Is tumor grade or stage more important? ›

Doctors can't be certain exactly how the cells will behave. But the grade is a useful indicator. Doctors sometimes look at the cancer grade to help stage the cancer. The stage of a cancer describes how big the cancer is and whether it has spread or not.

At what size does a tumor metastasis? ›

For brain or lung metastasis, the larger the tumor, the higher the risk of brain or lung metastasis. For liver metastasis, patients with a tumor size of 3–7 cm were more prone to develop liver metastasis. For bone metastasis, patients with a tumor size ≥7 cm were more likely to have bone metastasis.

What stage is ovarian cancer usually diagnosed? ›

Ovarian cancer affects women of all ages but is most commonly diagnosed after menopause. More than 75% of affected women are diagnosed at an advanced stage because early-stage disease is usually asymptomatic and symptoms of late-stage disease are nonspecific.

Does ovarian cancer spread quickly? ›

After reaching the ovaries, the tumors tend to spread more quickly to other nearby areas and, if not treated successfully, to more distant parts of the body such as the spleen, intestines, brain, skin, and lymph nodes.

Is chemo needed for stage 2 ovarian cancer? ›

Stage II cancers

After surgery, chemo is recommended for at least 6 cycles. The combination of carboplatin and paclitaxel is used most often. Some women with stage II ovarian cancer are treated with intraperitoneal (IP) chemotherapy instead of intravenous (IV) chemotherapy.

Can Stage 1A ovarian cancer spread? ›

In stage 1, the cancer is confined to the ovaries and hasn't spread to the abdomen, pelvis or lymph nodes, nor to distant sites. It's considered an early-stage cancer, which means that it offers the highest survival rate.

How many chemo treatments for stage 1 ovarian cancer? ›

The typical course of chemo for epithelial ovarian cancer involves 3 to 6 cycles of treatment, depending on the stage and type of ovarian cancer. A cycle is a schedule of regular doses of a drug, followed by a rest period.

At what stage of ovarian cancer is chemotherapy used? ›

For stage 3 or 4 ovarian cancer, chemotherapy is sometimes given before surgery (neoadjuvant chemotherapy). The aim is to shrink the tumours to make them easier to remove. After three cycles of chemotherapy, you will have a CT scan to check how the tumour has responded.

What is the most common ovarian tumor in old age? ›

Epithelial ovarian cancer.

This type is the most common. It includes several subtypes, including serous carcinoma and mucinous carcinoma.

Can ovarian tumors go away? ›

Most ovarian cysts come and go with menstrual cycles, while ovarian tumors will not go away on their own, and will require treatment.

Where do most ovarian cancers start? ›

Genomic study suggests that most ovarian cancers originate in the fallopian tube. Some scientists have suspected that the most common form of ovarian cancer may originate in the fallopian tubes, the thin fibrous tunnels that connect the ovaries to the uterus.

Can ovarian tumors be cured without surgery? ›

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) , doctors usually treat ovarian cancer with a combination of surgery and chemotherapy. However, they may also treat ovarian cancer using radiation therapy, targeted therapy, hormone therapy, and immunotherapy.

What is the rarest malignant ovarian tumor? ›

An extremely rare form of ovarian cancer is called small cell carcinoma of the ovary, or SCCO. Most of the women who get it are young. It tends to be fast-growing.

What is the prognosis of ovarian serous carcinoma? ›

Outcomes for patients with this type of ovarian cancer vary on an individual basis; currently, the median overall survival for patients with high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma is about 40 months.

How fast do tumors grow in size? ›

Here's the take-home point: a 1 millimeter cluster of cancerous cells typically contains somewhere in the ball park of a million cells, and on average, takes about six years to get to this size. Generally, a tumor can't be detected until it reaches the 1 millimeter mark.

Do tumors keep getting bigger? ›

But as a tumour grows, it needs more blood to bring oxygen and other nutrients to the cancer cells. So cancer cells send signals for a tumour to make new blood vessels. This is called angiogenesis and it is one of the reasons that tumours grow and get bigger.

Do cancerous tumors grow fast or slow? ›

They: usually grow faster than benign tumours. spread into surrounding tissues and cause damage. may spread to other parts of the body in the bloodstream or through the lymph system to form secondary tumours.

Can staging and grading affect prognosis? ›

Even when the grade doesn't affect a cancer's stage, it might still affect a person's outlook and/or treatment. Cell type: Cancers in some parts of the body can start in different types of cells. Because the type of cancer cell can affect treatment and outlook, it can be a factor in staging.

How are tumor grade and stage related to prognosis? ›

Your doctor uses tumor grade and other factors about your cancer to form a treatment plan and in some cases, to estimate your prognosis. Tumor grade describes how normal or abnormal cancer cells look under a microscope.

What is the most common tumor grading scale? ›

Of the many cancer-specific schemes, the Gleason system, named after Donald Floyd Gleason, used to grade the adenocarcinoma cells in prostate cancer is the most famous. This system uses a grading score ranging from 2 to 10. Lower Gleason scores describe well-differentiated less aggressive tumors.

Does metastasis always mean Stage 4? ›

Cancer that spreads from where it started to a distant part of the body is called metastatic cancer. For many types of cancer, it is also called stage IV (4) cancer. The process by which cancer cells spread to other parts of the body is called metastasis.

At what stage does metastasis occur? ›

Stage IV. This stage means that the cancer has spread to other organs or parts of the body. It may be also called advanced or metastatic cancer.

How big is the tumor in stage 2 and where is it located? ›

In stage 2 breast cancer, the tumor measures between 2 cm and 5 cm, or the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes under the arm on the same side as the breast cancer.

Is Stage 2 ovarian cancer considered advanced? ›

Doctors usually class stage 2 cancer as advanced ovarian cancer. This means the cancer has spread away from the ovary. The main treatments are surgery and chemotherapy. Treatment can cure some advanced cancers.

What stage of ovarian cancer is curable? ›

Is it curable? Yes, doctors can treat stage 3 ovarian cancer. However, it is more difficult to treat than stages 1 and 2. Cancer treatment aims to achieve remission, which means that the signs and symptoms of the cancer are partially or completely gone.

How do doctors determine stage of ovarian cancer? ›

It is determined by examining tissue removed during an operation. This is also known as surgical staging. Sometimes, if surgery is not possible right away, the cancer will be given a clinical stage instead. This is based on the results of a physical exam, biopsy, and imaging tests done before surgery.

What is the average size of an ovarian mass? ›

Most functional cysts are 2 to 5 centimeters (cm) (about 3/4 of an inch to 2 inches) in size. Ovulation happens when these cysts are around 2 to 3 cm in size. However, some may reach sizes of 8 to 12 cm (around 3 to 5 inches).

What is a high tumor marker for ovarian cancer? ›

High levels of certain tumor markers in your blood may be a sign of cancer. If you have cancer, measuring certain tumor markers may help provide important information about how to treat your disease. High levels of CA-125 are often found in people who have ovarian cancer.

What two main types of tumors will be removed for ovarian cancer? ›

Surgery for ovarian germ cell tumors and ovarian stromal tumors. For germ cell tumors and stromal tumors, the main goal of surgery is to remove the cancer. Most ovarian germ cell tumors are treated with a hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy.

Does the size of an ovarian cyst matter? ›

We don't usually consider surgery unless a cyst is larger than 50-60mm (5-6cm) although that may depend on what the cyst looks like and what symptoms it causes. Ovarian cysts are so common that nearly every woman will have one at some stage in her life. Many women will have no problems related to the cyst.


1. FIGO staging of ovarian cancer
(Alaa Elsayed , M.D.)
2. Treatment Options for Ovarian Cancer
(Nucleus Medical Media)
3. Treatment of Invasive Epithelial Ovarian Cancers by Stage
(My Cancer Wiki)
4. Ovarian Tumors and Cancer - CRASH! Medical Review Series
(Paul Bolin, M.D.)
5. HealthLink: Late stage ovarian cancer treatment
(KING 5 Seattle)
6. Ovarian Cancer, Stagewise Management
(AAUN Obs and Gynae)
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