If cancer cells are found in your cervix, your doctor will determine how fast the cancer cells are able to grow; this procedure is called staging and grading of cervical cancer. The staging is important; it helps your doctor to localize and define the size of the tumor, whether it has expanded beyond the cervix or not. In addition, the staging is important in both determining the treatment and diagnosis of the cancer.
Usually, cancer of the cervix is classified into the following stages:
- Carcinoma in situ – also called stage 0, carcinoma in situ indicates the genesis of the cancer. The tumor is localized in the cells lining the tissue of the cervix.
- Stage I – a stage 1 cervical cancer is localized only in the cervix without affecting surrounding tissue.
- Stage II – the cancer has spread to the upper vagina or surrounding tissues of the cervix without affecting the pelvic wall or the lower portion of the vagina.
- Stage III – at this stage, the cancer has spread to the lower part of the vagina or pelvic wall; it may also affect the ureters and nearby lymph nodes.
- Stage IV – cancer has spread to the bladder, rectum or other distant body parts such as lungs, liver or bones.