Untreated stage 4 ovarian cancer life expectancy

Updated November 21, 2016

Cancer is categorised into four different stages. Stage I is the mildest and the cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes or other areas of the body. In Stage IV, the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and other organs such as the liver, brain or lungs. According to the Cancer Network, Stage IV cancers are "highly fatal and the five-year survival rate is about 10 per cent."

About Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer was known as a "silent killer" for many years because it typically was not diagnosed until it was in the later stages and had spread to other parts of the body. Symptoms can often mimic other conditions and include abdominal pressure, pelvic discomfort, urinary urgency, unexplained changes in bowel habits, quickly feeling full, lack of energy and lower back pain. Awareness of symptoms has led to earlier detection and a better survival rate.

Life expectancy without treatment

According to the Annals of Medicine, the average life expectancy for patients with Stage IV ovarian cancer is 2.95 years.

Life expectancy with treatment

State IV ovarian cancer is not curable. But some treatments may extend life expectancy. How much time will be added to the patient's life is variable. It will depend on each individual patient and where the cancer has spread. Your doctor will be able to give you an estimate depending on your condition and treatment options.


Treatment of ovarian cancer will depend on the stage of the cancer and each individual patient. Options include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Some Stage IV patients may choose only to focus on quality of life since treatments such as chemo are only temporary and often come with uncomfortable side effects. According to the cancer network, it is often recommended that Stage IV patients participate in clinical trials that may help with symptoms and possibly extend life expectancy.

Risk factors

Your risk for ovarian cancer increases with several risk factors. Those include a family history of ovarian or uterine cancer, age---half of all cases are detected in women older than 65, diet, reproductive history and history of taking birth control pills. "The incidence of ovarian cancer is highest among white women in Europe and North America and lowest among black women," according to the Ovarian Cancer Center.

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About the Author

Karen Taylor is a visual journalist, page designer and horse-lover in central Indiana. She designs pages for an area newspaper including feature pages and page A1. She has had a passion for journalism her entire life and enjoys both the design and writing aspects of the industry. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Ball State University in visual journalism.