Staging Cervical Cancer

Once cervical cancer is diagnosed, the stage of the cancer is determined. Cervical cancer staging is based on physical examination and diagnostic tests (e.g., colposcopy, cystoscopy, proctoscopy).

The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) System of Staging is used to stage cancer of the cervix. According to this system, cervical cancer is classified from Stage 0 (called carcinoma in situ [CIS] or cervical intraepithelial neoplasia [CIN]) to Stage IV (i.e., advanced cervical cancer that has spread to other areas of the body).

FIGO System for cervical cancer staging:

  • Stage 0 - cancer cells are confined to the lining of the cervix
  • Stage I - cancer cells are confined to the cervix
    • Stage IA - cancer can only be detected using a microscope and the amount of cancer is small
      • Stage IA1 - cancer measures less than 7 mm in diameter and is less than 3 mm deep
      • Stage IA - cancer measures less than 7 mm in diameter and is between 3 mm and 5 mm deep
    • Stage 1B - cancer can be seen without using a microscope or cancer has spread deeper than 5 mm or is larger than 7 mm in diameter
      • Stage 1B1 - cancer can be seen without a microscope and is not larger than 4 cm in diameter
      • Stage 1B - cancer can be seen without using a microscope and is larger than 4 cm in diameter
  • Stage II - cancer has not spread to the walls of the pelvis or the lower vagina, but has grown beyond the cervix
    • Stage IIA - cancer has not spread into the tissues surrounding the cervix, but may have spread into the upper vagina
    • Stage IIB - cancer has spread into the tissue surrounding the cervix (called the parametria)
  • Stage III - cancer has spread to the lower vagina or the walls of the pelvis or cancer is blocking the tubes the carry urine to the bladder (ureters)
    • Stage IIIA - cancer has spread to the lower vagina, but not to the pelvic walls
    • Stage IIIB - cancer has spread to the walls of the pelvis, to the lymph nodes in the pelvis, or is blocking the ureters
  • Stage IV - cancer has spread (metastasized) to other organs or areas of the body
    • Stage IVA - cancer has spread to the bladder or rectum
    • Stage IVB - cancer has spread to organs outside of the pelvis, such as the liver or other abdominal organs or the lungs

    Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

    Published: 03 Jan 2010

    Last Modified: 03 Sep 2015