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What are the stages of cervical cancer and what do they mean?

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Updated July 01, 2014

Question: What are the stages of cervical cancer and what do they mean?
Answer: Cervical Cancer has five different categories in its staging system. The system used is referred to as the "Figo" system (International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics.

You will notice that within each stage is a "sub-stage" and represent levels within that specific stage of cancer.

The staging system begins at 0 and ends at IV. 0 meaning the very early stages of cancer and IV being advanced.

Stage 0

Also called carcinoma in situ, stage 0 means that cancerous cells that have not invaded deeper tissues. The cells are superficial and are only found on the surface.

Stage I

In stage I, cancerous cells have invaded the cervix, and cells are no longer just at the surface. Cancer is still confined to the cervix and has not spread.

  • Stage IA: This is the earliest form of stage I cervical cancer. The cancer can only be identified under microscopic examination.


    • Stage IA1: The invasion area is less than 3mm(1/8 inch) deep and less than 7mm (1/4 inch) wide.

    • Stage IA2: The invasion area is between 3 mm and 5 mm (about 1/5 inch) deep and less than 7 mm (about 1/4 inch) wide.


  • Stage IB: This stage indicated that cancer can be seen without a microscope. It also include cancers that have invaded the connective tissue of the cervix, deeper than 5mm (1/5 inch).

    • Stage IB1: Cancer is no more than 4 centimeters large (1 3/4 inches).

    • Stage IB2: Cancer is larger than 4 centimeters (1 3/4 inches)


  • Stage II

    In stage II, the cancer has spread to nearby tissues, but is still contained within the pelvic area.

  • Stage IIA: Cancer has spread to the upper part of the vagina. The lower third of the vagina has not been affected.

  • Stage IIB: In this stage, cancer has spread to tissue near the cervix. This tissue is called parametrial tissue.


  • Stage III

    This stage indicates that cancer has spread to the lower portion of the vagina. It could have also spread to the pelvic wall in this stage.

  • Stage IIIA: Cancer has spread to the lower part of the vagina and is contained in that area.

  • Stage IIIB: Cancer has spread to the pelvic wall. This also includes cancer that blocks the flow of urine to the bladder.


  • Stage IV

    In stage IV, the cancer has spread to other areas of the body. This is the most advanced stage of cervical cancer.

  • Stage IVA: This stage includes cancer that has spread to areas close to the cervix, such as the bladder or rectum.

  • Stage IVB: Stage IVB cervical cancer is not considered curable. In this stage, cancer has spread to distant areas of the body, like the lungs.
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    4. Types of Cancer A-M
    5. Cervical Cancer
    6. What Are the Stages of Cervical Cancer? - Guide

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