What is the prognosis for stage 4 ovarian cancer?

A fellow caregiver asked...

What is the prognosis of stage 4 ovarian cancer as far as life span from prognosis to recurrence?

Expert Answer

Senior Editor Melanie Haiken, who is responsible for Caring.com's coverage of cancer, general health, and family finance, discovered how important it is to provide accurate, targeted, usable health information to people facing difficult decisions.

When your oncologist tells you that your ovarian cancer is Stage IV, it means the cancer has metastasized, or spread, to other parts of your body. That said, no one can offer you a prognosis for your cancer other than your own oncologist, who is familiar with your case, in particular your pathology reports. Many factors would make a difference in determining your prognosis, including knowing what areas the cancer has spread to, and what grade the cancer is. (Grade is a measurement used to determine whether the cancer is well or poorly differentiated, which indicates how aggressive it will be.) 

It's very important for cancer patients to be able to discuss their prognosis openly and honestly with their oncologists. You have a right to know what to expect down the line, both from the cancer itself and from the treatment options you're pursuing. If you're having trouble getting your doctor to speak with you as directly as you'd like, see these suggestions for opening the conversation. If your doctor's approach to treatment is not to your liking, you may wish to seek a second opinion or consider a clinical trial.