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.

Number stages

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. It is 7mm or less wide.

Stage 1A2 – The cancer is more than 3mm deep but no more than 5mm deep. It is 7mm or less wide.

Stage 1B

The cancer is larger than stage 1A but still confined to the cervix.

Stage 1B1 – The cancer is no larger than 4cm.

Stage 1B2 – The cancer is larger than 4cm.

Stage 2

The cancer has spread into 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 cancer is no larger than 4cm.

Stage 2A2 – The cancer is larger than 4cm.

Stage 2B

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

Stage 3

The cancer has spread to the lower part of the vagina, or the tissues at the sides of the pelvic area (called the pelvic sidewall). 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 pelvic sidewall or is pressing on the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder (ureters). If the tumour is pressing on a ureter, urine may build up 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 organs further from the cervix, such as the lungs, liver or bone.

Name stages

Your doctors may use the following names to describe the stage of the 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 or metastatic 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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The cancer registry

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