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Where Does Metastatic Ovarian Cancer Spread To?

Metastatic Ovarian Cancer Patient

Metastatic ovarian cancer is an advanced stage malignancy that has spread from the cells in the ovaries to distant areas of the body. This type of cancer is most likely to spread to the liver, the fluid around the lungs, the spleen, the intestines, the brain, skin or lymph nodes outside of the abdomen.

How do I know if my ovarian cancer has spread?

Early symptoms of ovarian cancer may include persistent bloating, abdominal distention or discomfort, trouble eating and urinary urgency. However, not all women with ovarian cancer will experience symptoms in its early stages. Additionally, these symptoms are also associated with many other, more common conditions, so the presence of one or more of these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have ovarian cancer.

When ovarian cancer reaches an advanced stage and spreads to other areas of the body, symptoms are much more likely to occur. Additional symptoms at this stage may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Upset stomach
  • Back pain
  • Abdominal swelling with weight loss 

If you are experiencing any symptoms associated with ovarian cancer, it is important to consult with your gynecologic oncologist to receive an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

What is the prognosis for metastatic ovarian cancer?

Metastatic ovarian cancer has a five-year survival rate of approximately 18 percent. However, it’s important to remember that cancer survival rates are based on a large group of people and aren’t predictive of what will happen in a particular person’s case. For example, when looking at ovarian cancer as a whole, the five-year survival rate is approximately 48 percent. What’s more, patients who are younger than 65 years of age at the time of diagnosis fare better than older women. Other factors that can affect a patient’s prognosis include:

  • The overall health of the patient
  • How well the tumor is responding to treatment
  • The grade of the cancer (ovarian cancer can be graded as 1, 2, or 3 cancers)
  • The type of tumor—ovarian germ cell tumors and ovarian stromal tumors have a higher survival rate than epithelial ovarian cancer

How is metastatic ovarian cancer treated?

At this advanced stage, a combination of surgery and chemotherapy are typically recommended. However, each patient’s case is unique and should be reviewed individually to determine the best treatment option. At Moffitt Cancer Center, our multispecialty team collaborates in regular tumor board meetings, ensuring each patient receives an individualized treatment plan that is tailored to her unique needs.

Additionally, Moffitt is committed to advancing research and treatment options for individuals with ovarian cancer through our robust clinical trials program. Eligible patients who choose to participate in a clinical trial may have access to the latest and most advanced treatments before they have become widely available.

Medically reviewed by Jing-Yi Chern, MD, ScM, gynecologic oncologist

If you have been diagnosed with metastatic ovarian cancer or are experiencing symptoms of this malignancy, you can find all of the diagnostic and treatment services you require at Moffitt Cancer Center. Call 1-888-663-3488 or fill out a new patient registration form online. We do not require a referral and Virtual Visits appointments are available.