More about staging cervical cancer

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Stage 0

In stage 0, the cancer cells are on the surface and have not invaded the deep tissue of the cervix. Stage 0 is a pre-cancer and is also called CIN.

Stage 1

This means that the cancer cells are found in the deeper tissues of the cervix but nowhere else. How deep the cells go is very important. Your doctors may call this the ‘depth of invasion’.

Stage 1A is only seen under a microscope   

  • Stage 1A1 The earliest stage. The cells are less than 3mm deep and 7mm wide.
  • Stage 1A2 The cells are 3–5mm deep and less than 7mm wide.
  • Stage 1B1 The cells are greater than 7mm wide or 5mm deep but less than 4cm in size. They can be seen without a microscope.
  • Stage 1B2 The cells are greater than 4cm.

The cancer in stages 1b1 and 1b2 can be seen without a colposcope.

Stage 2

In stage 2, the cancer has started to spread beyond the cervix to nearby tissues, but is still inside the pelvis.

  • Stage 2A The cancer has spread into the upper part of the vagina but has not spread into the side tissues of the cervix. 
  • Stage 2A1 The cancer is less than 4cm in size
  • Stage 2A2 The cancer is greater than 4cm in size
  • Stage 2B Cancer cells have spread to the tissues at the side of the cervix.

Stage 3

In this stage, the cancer has spread further away from the cervix. It has moved into the lower part of the vagina and to the side wall of the pelvis.

  • Stage 3A The cancer has spread to the lower third of the vagina but not the pelvic wall.
  • Stage 3B The tumour has spread to the side wall of the pelvis. When this happens, it can block the tubes that drain the kidneys (ureters).

Stage 4

In this stage, the cancer involves other body organs.

  • Stage 4A The cancer has spread to nearby organs such as the bladder or back passage (rectum).
  • Stage 4B The cancer has spread to distant organs, such as the lungs. Stage 4b cervical cancer is also called metastatic cervical cancer.

Recurrent cervical cancer

If the cancer returns after treatment it is called recurrent cervical cancer. Local recurrence is when the cervical cancer returns in the pelvis. When it returns to distant organs, it is called distant recurrence. 

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