Cervical Cancer Treatment (Patient) (cont.)
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Stages of Cervical Cancer
After cervical cancer has been diagnosed, tests are done to find out if cancer cells have spread within the cervix or to other parts of the body.
The process used to find out if cancer has spread within the cervix or to other parts of the body is called staging. The information gathered from the staging process determines the stage of the disease. It is important to know the stage in order to plan treatment. The following tests and procedures may be used in the staging process:
The results of these tests are viewed together with the results of the original tumorbiopsy to determine the cervical cancer stage.
There are three ways that cancer spreads in the body.
The three ways that cancer spreads in the body are:
When cancer cells break away from the primary (original) tumor and travel through the lymph or blood to other places in the body, another (secondary) tumor may form. This process is called metastasis. The secondary (metastatic) tumor is the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if breast cancer spreads to the bones, the cancer cells in the bones are actually breast cancer cells. The disease is metastatic breast cancer, not bone cancer.
The following stages are used for cervical cancer:
Carcinoma in Situ (Stage 0)
In carcinoma in situ (stage 0), abnormalcells are found in the innermost lining of the cervix. These abnormal cells may become cancer and spread into nearby normal tissue.
In stage I, cancer is found in the cervix only. Stage I is divided into stages IA and IB, based on the amount of cancer that is found.
In stage II, cancer has spread beyond the cervix but not to the pelvic wall (the tissues that line the part of the body between the hips) or to the lower third of the vagina. Stage II is divided into stages IIA and IIB, based on how far the cancer has spread.
In stage III, cancer has spread to the lower third of the vagina, and/or to the pelvic wall, and/or has caused kidney problems. Stage III is divided into stages IIIA and IIIB, based on how far the cancer has spread.
In stage IV, cancer has spread to the bladder, rectum, or other parts of the body. Stage IV is divided into stages IVA and IVB, based on where the cancer is found.
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