Grades and stages
Grades of ovarian cancer
The grade of a tumour refers to how abnormal the tumour cells look under a microscope. It is an indicator of how quickly a tumour is likely to grow and spread. The more the cancer cells look like a normal cell, the more they will behave like a normal cell.
Based on the appearance of cancer cells under the microscope, tumours are graded by four degrees of severity: grades 1, 2, 3, and 4.
More information about tumour grading
The cells of Grade 1 tumours resemble normal cells, and tend to grow and multiply slowly. Grade 1 tumours are usually the least aggressive.
The cells of Grade 3 or Grade 4 (higher grade) tumours do not look like normal cells. Grade 3 and 4 tumours tend to grow rapidly and spread faster than tumours with a lower grade.
Stages of ovarian cancer
Staging is the process of finding out how widespread the cancer is within the body. If the cancer has spread, the stage describes how far it has spread from the ovaries to other parts of the body.
Stage 1: the tumour has grown only in the ovaries.
Stage II: the tumour has spread beyond the ovaries to the uterus, fallopian tubes and/or other pelvic tissues.
Stage III and IV: malignant cells have grown and spread.