Cervical Cancer (cont.)

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What are the stages of cervical cancer?

The stage of any cancer refers to the extent to which it has spread in the body at the time of diagnosis. Staging cancers is an important part of determining the best treatment plan. Both the FIGO (International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics) system and the AJCC (American Joint Committee on Cancer) have developed systems to stage cervical cancer. Both systems are based on the tumor extent, spread to any lymph nodes, and distant spread. Cervical cancer is classified in stages from 0 to IV, with many subcategories within each numerical stage.

In general, the stages of cervical cancer are as follows:

  • Stage 0: This stage is not a true invasive cancer. The abnormal cells are only on the surface of the cervix, as in CIN 3. This stage is not included in the FIGO system and is referred to as carcinoma in situ (CIS).
  • Stage I: There is a small amount of tumor present that has not spread to any lymph nodes or distant sites.
  • Stage II: The cancer has spread beyond the cervix and uterus, but does not invade the pelvic walls or the lower part of the vagina.
  • Stage III: The cancer has grown into the lower part of the vagina or the walls of the pelvis. The tumor may be blocking the ureters (tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder). There is no spread to other sites in the body.
  • Stage IV: This is the most advanced stage, in which the cancer has spread to the bladder or rectum, or to sites in other areas of the body.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/4/2016


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