For the estimation of size of tumour in the cervix and detecting its metastases in areas close to the cervix, staging of cervical cancer is necessary. The four different stages of cervical cancer are diagnosed using colposcopy and cervical biopsies. The detection of cervical cancer stage helps the oncologist to chart the right treatment course, such as hysterectomy, chemotherapy and radiation theraphy.
Early detection of cervical cancer is at stage zero and stage 1. If the cancer is left untreated at these stages or diagnosed late, the developing cancerous cells will turn into advanced cervical cancer stages .i.e. stage III and stage IV.
At this stage, abnormal cells have affected the inner lining of the cervix. This stage is also known as carcinoma in situ, or CIS and cervical intraepithelial neoplasis CIN grade III. At stage zero, detection of development of cancerous cells is difficult.
At this stage, cancer has formed. This stage is divided under two stages- stage IA and stage IB depending on the size of the tumour.
Stage IA: This stage is further categorised as stage IA1 and stage IB2. At stage IA1, the tumour is less than 3mm deep and its width is less than 7mm. In stage IA2, the tumour varies 3 mm to 5mm in depth and width remains the same as in stage IA1. At this stage, tumour can be detected through a microscope.
Stage IB: The tumour is more than 5mm deep and 7mm wide and its detection is possible even without using a microscope.
At this stage, cancer has grown outside the cervix, but it does not develop at the wall of pelvis and into the lower region of the vagina. The subdivisions of stage II are- stage IIA and stage IIB. In stage IIA, the tumour is less than 4 cm wide and in stage IIB, it is wider than 4 cm. However, in both stages the tumour does not affect lymph nodes and other body organs.
This stage has been sub divided according to the growth and spread of cancerous cells. When the cancer develops into lower vaginal portion, but does not affect pelvic walls, it is referred to as stage IIIA of cervical cancer.
In stage IIIB, the malignant tumour has grown to the pelvic wall. The growth of the tumour can obstruct the tubes connecting kidneys to the bladder. This disrupts the proper functioning of the kidneys and they swell.
The malignancy has spread to other body parts in this most advanced cervical cancer stage. Categorised into two divisions- stage IVA and stage IVB, this cancer in this stage is non-curable.
Stage IVA: At this stage, the cancer has spread to areas in proximity of the cervix, such as the bladder or rectum.
Stage IVB: The last stage of cervical cancer, in which the tumour has grown to the distant body parts, such as abdomen, liver, lungs or intestinal tract.
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