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Ovarian cancer

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If ovarian cancer spreads

Cancer cells have the potential to spread from the ovary to other parts of the body where they can grow into new tumours. This process is called metastasis. The tumours are also called metastasis (singular) or metastases (plural). Metastases are also called secondary tumours.

Understanding the usual progression of cancer helps the doctor to predict its probable course, plan treatment and anticipate further care.

The most common sites where ovarian cancer spreads are:

  • Fallopian tube
  • other ovary
  • uterus
  • cervix
  • vagina
  • omentum (a fold in the peritoneum that covers and supports organs and blood vessels in the abdomen)
  • peritoneum (the membrane that lines the walls of the abdomen and pelvis [parietal peritoneum], and covers and supports most of the abdominal organs [visceral peritoneum])
  • diaphragm (the thin muscle below the lungs and heart that separates the chest cavity from the abdomen)
  • bladder
  • large intestine
  • rectum
  • small intestine
  • distant lymph nodes
  • liver
  • lungs


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