When being diagnosed for cervical cancer, it is important to know what stage it is in. This information will allow the doctor to plan the treatment according to how advanced the cancer is. There are 5 separate stages, several of which are subdivided.
The first stage is Stage 0. In stage 0, cancer is found in the first layer of cells lining the cervix only and has not invaded the deeper tissues of the cervix. This is the earliest form of cervical cancer and can be treated with laser surgery, a hysterectomy or radiation.
The next stage is Stage I and is subdivided into IA and IB. At this stage cancer is found in the cervix but has not yet spread. In Stage IA, a very small amount of cancer that can only be seen with a microscope is found in the tissues of the cervix. In the next subsection, IB, cancer is still within the cervix and either: can only be seen with a microscope or is smaller and cannot.
In Stage II, the cancer has spread beyond the cervix but not to the pelvic wall (the tissues that line the part of the body between the hips). Stage II is divided into stages IIA and IIB, based on how far the cancer has spread.
In IIA, the cancer has spread beyond the cervix to the upper two thirds of the vagina but not to tissues around the uterus. In IIB, the cancer has spread beyond the cervix to the upper two thirds of the vagina and to the tissues around the uterus.