|How Is Cervical Cancer Staged?
The process of determining how far a cancer has spread is called staging (image). Information from diagnostic tests such as biopsies and scans (MRI/CAT/PEP) are used to determine staging - this is part of the cervical cancer diagnosis process. The degree of staging is based on the size of tumor present, if cancer has invaded nearby tissues or it if has spread through the lymph nodes to distant organs (metastasis). Knowing the stage is important for determining the best form of cervical cancer treatment. The 2 most common types of staging systems for cervical cancer are the FIGO (International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics) system and the AJCC (American Joint Committee on Cancer) TNM staging system. Both systems are similar in that they classify cancer on the basis of 3 factors: (1) The extent of the tumor size (T) (2) the number of lymph nodes affected (N) and (3) the presence of metastases, cancer (M) in other parts of the body. Both systems classify cancer from stage 0 through to IV. A staging is normally evaluated through a physical examination and diagnostic tests such as scans, a cystoscopy and proctoscopy. It is not based on surgery. Sometimes when surgery is performed it shows the disease to be further advanced than originally thought.
Note: Cervical cancer survival rates are related to the stage of cancer present.
FIGO Staging System
Carcinoma in situ (CIS) or CIN. Cancer cells are only on the surface of the cervix and have not invaded deeper tissues. Symptoms of cervical cancer are unusual at this stage.
Carcinoma confined to the cervix. It has grown into (invaded) the cervix, but is not growing outside the uterus. The cancer has not spread to lymph nodes or distant parts of the body.
Carcinomas not visible to the eye but seen with a microscope. The cancer has not spread to lymph nodes or distant parts of the body.
Minimal microscopic evidence of stromal invasion. The cancer is less than 3mm deep and 7mm wide. The cancer has not spread to lymph nodes or distant parts of the body.
Carcinoma detectable by microscope and is less than 5mm deep and 7mm wide. The cancer has not spread to lymph nodes or distant parts of the body.
Lesions are larger than IA2. The cancer has not spread to lymph nodes or distant parts of the body.
Cancer has grown beyond the cervix and invaded the upper vagina but not the lower third of the vagina. Cervical cancer recurrences are more common to this group of women.
The cancer continues to spread in the vagina but has not spread into the tissues next to the cervix (called the parametria). The cancer has still not spread to lymph nodes or distant parts of the body.
Cancer has invaded the parametria. It still has not spread to lymph nodes or distant parts of the body.
Cancer has spread to lower third of vagina or extends to the pelvic walls. There is obstruction of one or both ureters (a condition called hydronephrosis) without involvement of the parametria or vagina.
Cancer has spread to lower third of vagina but does not extend to the pelvic wall. It still has not spread to lymph nodes or distant parts of the body.
Cancer has invaded the walls of the pelvis and/or has blocked one or both ureters but has not spread to lymph nodes or distant parts of the body.
Cancer has spread to lymph nodes in the pelvis but not to other parts of the body. The tumor can be any size and may have spread to the lower part of the vagina or walls of the pelvis.
Cancer extends outside of the reproductive tract.
Cancer has spread to the rectum or bladder.
Cancer has spread outside the pelvic region, for example to the bones, lungs or liver.
Other Female Cancers
Breast Cancer Staging
Fallopian Tube Cancer Staging
Ovarian Cancer Stages
Endometrial Cancer Staging
Vaginal Cancer Staging
Vulva Cancer Stages