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Ovacome is a national charity providing support to anyone affected by ovarian cancer. We give information about symptoms, diagnosis, treatments, research and screening. Ovacome also runs a telephone support line and works to raise awareness and give a voice to all those affected by ovarian cancer.

This information is for those who have been diagnosed with stage 2 ovarian cancer and want to know more about their cancer and how it is treated.


Cancer staging

The ovarian cancer stage means how far your cancer has spread at the time it is discovered. This may be assessed following your diagnostic tests but usually confirmed after surgery.

During your operation to remove the cancer the surgeon may take samples from the cancer and from fluid which are then examined under a microscope.  This usually shows the stage of your cancer.

The system of staging also applies to fallopian tube and primary peritoneal cancers.


What is stage 2 ovarian cancer?

Stage 2 is when the cancer has spread beyond the ovary to the pelvis. 

Stage 2 ovarian cancer is divided into three further categories:

  • Stage 2a means the cancer is present in the ovary and has spread to the fallopian tubes and/or the womb.
  • Stage 2b means the cancer has grown beyond the womb and onto nearby organs that are lined with peritoneal tissue (the thin tissue which also lines the abdomen). These include the bladder and rectum.

Ovarian cancer at stage 2 is only found in a small number of people with the disease.  This is because ovarian cancer can spread to the lining of the abdominal cavity (which is stage 3) at the same time as the pelvic organs.  It can also spread to the abdominal cavity lining without spreading to the pelvic organs, skipping stage 2 entirely.


Grading stage 2 ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer is graded as well as staged.  It is graded 1, 2 or 3 to show how active it is, and how quickly or slowly it may grow.

Grade 1 (sometimes also called well differentiated cancer) means that when  looked at under a microscope, the cells look similar to normal cells which means they are likely to grow slowly.

Grade 2 (moderately differentiated) cells look more abnormal and are expected to be slightly faster growing.

Grade 3 (poorly differentiated or undifferentiated) cells look very different from normal cells and are expected to grow more quickly.


How is stage 2 ovarian cancer treated?

Stage 2 ovarian cancer is treated by surgery and chemotherapy. Your surgeon will remove your ovaries, fallopian tubes, womb and the layer of fatty tissue that surrounds your abdominal organs (called the omentum).

The surgeon will also aim to remove any cancer growing on the other organs within the pelvis. 

You will need chemotherapy if you have been diagnosed with stage 2 cancer. You will be offered a course of chemotherapy which usually starts two to six weeks after your operation. This will be a course of six treatments at three weekly intervals. It is likely that your consultant will recommend the use of chemotherapy drugs which are usually carboplatin and sometimes paclitaxel (also called Taxol) will be added. Sometimes newer drugs may be offered – but your doctor will explain these to you.


Support for you

Ovacome is the UK 's national ovarian cancer support charity. We've been providing emotional support and personalised, expert information since 1996. Contact our support line by phone, email or text if you have questions about a diagnosis, or if you just want to talk things through.

We support anyone affected by ovarian cancer, including family members, carers, those with an inherited risk, and health professionals working in the field.

We run support group and events, both in person and online, providing an opportunity to connect with others. Find out more about our groups and events here.

Support line


If you would like more information on the sources and references for this page, or if you would like to discuss anything about ovarian cancer, please phone our support line on 0800 008 7054 Monday to Friday between 10am and 5pm.

Booklet text reviewed by Professor Sean Kehoe MD DCH FRCOG. Professor of Gynaecological cancer and lead clinician, Oxford Gynaecological Centre, Churchill Hospital, Oxford; Senior Research Fellow, St Peters College, Oxford; Member of the International Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (FIGO) Gynaecological cancer committee.

V.2.2. Last updated February 2022, due for review February 2025

Disclaimer: Ovacome provides information and support.  We make every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information at the time of printing.  The information we give is not a substitute for professional medical care.  If you suspect you have cancer you should consult your doctor as quickly as possible.  Ovacome cannot accept liability for any inaccuracy in linked sources. Rights reserved.

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