Staging

The stage of a cancer refers to its size and whether it has spread beyond the area of the body where it first started. Knowing the extent of the cancer helps the doctors decide on the most appropriate treatment for you.

Cervical cancer is divided into four main stages. Each stage then has further sub-divisions:

Stage 1

The cancer cells are only within the cervix. Stage 1 can be further divided into:

Stage 1A

The cancer can only be seen with a microscope or colposcope.

Stage 1A1
The cancer is 3mm or less deep and 7mm or less wide.
Stage 1A2
The cancer is between 3–5mm deep and 7mm or less wide.

Stage 1B

The cancer growth is larger but still confined to the cervix.

Stage 1B1
The cancer is not larger than 4cm.
Stage 1B2
The cancer is larger than 4cm.

Stage 2

The cancer has spread into surrounding structures, such as the upper part of the vagina or the tissues next to the cervix. Stage 2 can be further divided into:

Stage 2A

The cancer has spread into the upper part of the vagina.

Stage 2A1
The tumour size is not larger than 4cm.
Stage 2A2
The tumour size is larger than 4cm.

Stage 2B

The cancer has spread into the tissues next to the cervix.

Stage 3

The cancer has spread to areas such as the lower part of the vagina, or the tissues at the sides of the pelvic area. Stage 3 can be further divided into:

Stage 3A

The cancer has spread into the lower part of the vagina.

Stage 3B

The cancer has spread through to the tissues at the sides of the pelvic area and may be pressing on one of the ureters (the tubes urine passes through from the kidneys to the bladder). If the tumour is causing pressure on a ureter, there may be a build-up of urine in the kidney.

Stage 4

The cancer has spread to the bladder or bowel or beyond the pelvic area. Stage 4 can be further divided into:

Stage 4A

The cancer has spread to nearby organs, such as the bladder and bowel.

Stage 4B

The cancer has spread to distant organs, such as the lungs, liver or bone.

Your doctors may use the following terms to describe your cancer:

  • Early-stage cervical cancer – this usually includes stages 1A to 1B1.
  • Locally advanced cervical cancer – this usually includes stages 1B2 to 4A.
  • Advanced-stage cervical cancer – this usually means stage 4B.

If the cancer comes back after initial treatment, this is known as recurrent cancer.

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