Stage I

In Stage I ovarian cancer, cancer cells are found in one or both ovaries. Cancer cells may be found on the surface of the ovaries or in fluid collected from the abdomen (ascites). At this stage, cancer cells have not spread to other organs and tissues in the abdomen or pelvis, lymph nodes, or to distant sites.

  • IA – Limited development in either one ovary or fallopian tube, where the outer ovarian capsule is not ruptured. There is no tumor on the external surface of the ovary and there is no ascites and/or the washings are negative.
  • IB – Cancer is present in both ovaries or fallopian tubes, but the outer capsule is intact and there is no tumor on external surface. There is no ascites and the washings are negative.
  • IC – The cancer is either Stage IA or IB level but the capsule is ruptured or there is tumor on the ovarian surface or malignant cells are present in ascites or washings.

15% of all cases of ovarian cancer are diagnosed with they are Stage I. (Source)

Prognosis & Survival Rates

For all types of ovarian cancer taken together, about 3 in 4 (72.4%) women with ovarian cancer live for at least 1 year after diagnosis. Almost half (46.2%) of women with ovarian cancer are still alive at least 5 years after diagnosis. Women diagnosed when they are younger than 65 do better than older women.

Most women with Stage I ovarian cancer have an excellent prognosis. Stage I patients with grade I tumors have a 5-year survival of over 90%, as do patients in stages IA and IB. Survival rates are often based on studies of large numbers of people, but they can’t predict what will happen in any particular person’s case. Other factors impact a woman’s prognosis, including her general health, the grade of the cancer, and how well the cancer responds to treatment.

StageRelative 5-Year Survival Rate
Source: American Cancer Society


Generally women with Stage I ovarian cancer have a total abdominal hysterectomy, removal of both ovaries and fallopian tubes (called a salpingo-oopherectomy), an omentectomy (removal of the omentum, a sheet of fat that covers some abdominal organs), biopsy of lymph nodes and other tissues in the pelvis and abdomen. Women of childbearing age who wish to preserve their fertility and whose disease is confined to one ovary may be treated by a unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy without a hysterectomy. (Omentectomy and the other parts of the staging procedure are still performed.) Depending on the pathologist’s interpretation of the tissue removed, there may be no further treatment if the cancer is low grade, or if the tumor is high grade the patient may receive combination chemotherapy.