What are Stages of Uterine Cancer?

Q:
What are stages of uterine cancer?

A:
Uterine cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the inner lining of your uterus. The most common form of uterine cancer is endometrial cancer.

Once the doctor has made a diagnosis, the stage of the cancer needs to be determined so that the most appropriate treatment can be adopted.

There are two systems used to stage endometrial cancer: the FIGO (International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics) system and the American Joint Committee on Cancer TNM staging system. They are almost the same, staging this cancer based on 3 factors:

  • The extent (size) of the tumor (T)
  • The spread to nearby lymph nodes (N)
  • The spread (metastasis) to distant sites (M)

Specific stages of uterine cancer include:

  • Stage I
  • Stage II
  • Stage III
  • Stage IV
  • Recurrent

Each of these stages is divided further.

Stage I

In this stage, the cancer is only found in the uterus. Based on how far the cancer has spread, Stage I can be divided into:

  • Stage IA

The cancer is only in the endometrium.

  • Stage IB

The cancer has spread into the inner half of the myometrium (muscle layer of the uterus).

  • Stage IC

The cancer has spread into the outer half of the myometrium.

Stage II

If the cancer has spread from the uterus to the cervix, but has not spread outside of the uterus, it’s in Stage II. Based on how far the cancer has spread into the cervix, Stage II can be divided into:

  • Stage IIA

The cancer has spread to the glands where the cervix and the uterus meet.

  • Stage IIB

The cancer has spread into the connective tissue of the cervix.

Stage III

In stage III uterine cancer, the cancer has spread beyond the uterus and the cervix but has not spread beyond the pelvis. Based on how far it spread within the pelvis, Stage III can be divided into:

  • Stage IIIA

The cancer has spread to one or more of the following:

The outermost layer of the uterus

The tissue just beyond the uterus

The peritoneum.

  • Stage IIIB

The cancer has spread beyond the uterus and the cervix and into the vagina.

  • Stage IIIC

The cancer has spread to the lymph nodes near the uterus.

Stage IV

Once the cancer has spread beyond the pelvis, it enters Stage IV. Based on how far the cancer has spread, Stage IV can be divided into:

  • Stage IVA

The cancer has spread to the bladder and/or the bowel wall.

  • Stage IVB

The cancer has spread to other parts of the body beyond the pelvis, including the lymph nodes in the abdomen and/or groin.

Recurrent Uterine Cancer

If the cancer recurs after it has been treated, it can be categorized into recurrent uterine cancer. The cancer may come back in the pelvis, in the lymph nodes in the abdomen, or in other parts of the body.

If you need more information about uterine cancer, please consult your doctor.

Keywords: uterine cancer; endometrial cancer; stages

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