Cervical cancer stages mean how far the cervical cancer has spread. Various diagnostic tests are used to find to the size of the tumor, how far and deep the tumor has spread around and within the cervix and the spread to the other organs of the body or the lymph nodes.
Knowing the stage of the cancer is very essential because the stage of the cancer plays an important role in selecting the correct treatment method for the cure of cancer.
Different Types of Cervical Cancer Stages
Cervical cancer stages can be divided into five different stages. Each stage has a sub-stage and represents the level of cancer within that stage of cervical cancer. The stages of cervical cancer start from 0 and end at the stage IV.
This stage is also known as carcinoma in situ. Stage 0 of cervical cancer indicates that the cells that cause cancer have not penetrated deep into the tissues but they are still at the outer surface. In this stage the abnormal cells are present only in the innermost lining of the cancer.
In the first stage, the cancer cells are not just at the surface but they have invaded the cervix. In this stage, the cancer remains restricted only to cervix without spreading to the other nearby areas. This stage is one of the cervical cancer stages that are further divided into two sub-stages. These include I A and IB. I A is the earliest stage of the first stage of the cervical cancer. During this stage, cancer can be seen only under the microscope. In the early stage of IA the invaded area is less than 1/8 inch deep and less than 1/4 inch wide. In the final stage of I A, the invaded area is about 1/5 inch deep and about 1/4 inch wide.
During the I B stage of cervical cancer, the cancer is visible easily with naked eyes even without the need of a microscopic vision. In this stage, the cancer has already conquered the connective tissue that is present at the cervix and the invasion is more than 1/5 inch. During the early stage of IB stage, the cancer is not larger than 13/4 inches but in the final stage of IB, cancer tends to be larger than 13/4 inches.
Though all the cervical cancer stages are critical, yet the major damage starts from this stage. Although the cancer spreads the nearby tissues during this stage but it is still within pelvic region. Stage 2 also has two sub-stages, namely IIA and IIB.
During the IIA stage of the cervical cancer, the upper vaginal area is affected leaving lower areas unaffected. During the IIB stage, the cancer spreads to the tissue (parametrial tissue) in close proximity to the cervix.
During this stage, the cancer spreads to the lower part of the vagina. Sometimes it also spreads to the pelvic walls. During the IIIA stage, although the cancer spreads to the lower of the vagina but it remains only in that particular area. In the IIIB stage, the cancer spreads to the pelvic wall.
This is one of the most crucial amongst the cervical cancer stages. During this phase, the cervical cancer spreads to the other body parts and this is a very critical and advanced stage of this cancer.
During the IVA stage the cancer spreads to the other areas such as rectum or bladder. During the IVB stage, the cancer is not curable and it spreads to the distant organs such as lungs.