Staging is the process used to determine if the cancer has spread within the cervix or to other parts of the body.
Your oncologist may order additional diagnostic tests and along with information gleaned from the original biopsy, your cancer will be staged. Knowing how far your cancer has advanced helps to determine your treatment path.
Cervical cancer is staged through non-surgical examinations and tests. Cervical cancer staging uses the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics system of staging, which is a different system than is used for many other cancers. In some cases, your oncologist may order surgery to get an understanding of how far an invasive cancer has spread, but this exploratory surgery will not change the initial staging.
Stages of cervical cancer
Stage 0The cancer cells are very superficial and found only in the layer of cells lining the cervix. The cancer cells have not grown into the deeper tissues of the cervix. This stage is also called carcinoma in situ (CIS) or cervical intraepithelial neoplasis (CIN) grade III.Stage IIn this stage the cancer has invaded the cervix, but it has not spread anywhere else.Stage IA
This is the earliest form of stage I. There is a very small amount of cancer, and it can be seen only under a microscope.Stage IA1
The area of invasion is less than about 1/8-inch deep and less than about 1/4-inch wide.Stage IA2
The area of invasion is between about 1/5-inch deep and less about 1/4-inch wide.Stage IB
This stage includes all Stage 1 cancers that can be seen without a microscope. It also includes cancers that require a microscope to be seen, but have spread deeper than about a 1/5th of an inch into the connective tissue or are wider than about 1/4th of an inch.Stage IB1
The cancer can be seen but it is not larger than about 1 3/5 inches.Stage IB2
The cancer can be seen and is larger than about 1 3/5th of an inch wide.Stage IIIn this stage, the cancer has grown beyond the cervix and uterus, but hasn't spread to the walls of the pelvis or the lower part of the vagina.Stage IIA
While the cancer may have grown into the upper part of the vagina, it has not spread into the tissues next to the cervix.Stage IIB
The cancer has spread into the tissues next to the cervix.Stage IIIThe cancer has spread to the lower part of the vagina or the pelvic wall. The malignancy may be blocking the ureters, the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder.Stage IIIA
The cancer has spread to the lower third of the vagina but not to the pelvic wall.Stage IIIB
The cancer has grown into the pelvic wall or the tumor has blocked the ureters.Stage IVThis is the most advanced stage of cervical cancer. The cancer has spread to nearby organs or other parts of the body.Stage IVA
The cancer has spread to the bladder or rectum, which are organs close to the cervix.Stage IVB
The cancer has spread to distant organs beyond the pelvic area, such as the lungs.