The stage, grade and type of womb cancer helps you and your doctor make decisions about your treatment.

Staging of womb cancer

The stage of the womb cancer describes:

  • how far the cancer has grown
  • if it has spread from where it started.

Knowing the stage of the cancer is important. It affects the decisions you and your doctor will make about treatment. The exact stage of the cancer is usually confirmed after surgery (if you have this).

Womb cancer is divided into four main stages.

Stage 1

The cancer is contained in the womb. About 3 out of 4 women (75%) have stage 1 cancer when they are diagnosed.

Stage 1 can be divided into:

  • Stage 1A – The cancer is only in the lining of the womb, or has grown no more than halfway into the muscle.
  • Stage 1B – The cancer has grown more than halfway into the muscle wall.

Stage 2

The cancer has spread to the cervix (the neck of the womb).

Stage 3

The cancer has spread outside the womb but has not spread beyond the pelvis.

Stage 3 can be divided into:

  • Stage 3A – The cancer has spread to the outer surface of the womb and/or the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
  • Stage 3B – The cancer has spread into the vagina and/or into the tissues around the womb (parametrium).
  • Stage 3C – The cancer has spread to pelvic lymph nodes or to lymph nodes in the tummy (abdomen).

Stage 4

The cancer has spread to other organs in the body. Stage 4 can be divided into:

  • Stage 4A – The cancer has spread into the bowel or bladder.
  • Stage 4B – The cancer has spread to other organs such as the lungs, liver or bones.

Other terms used for womb cancer stages

Your doctor or nurse may use some of the following terms to describe the cancer:

  • Early-stage womb cancer
    This usually means stage 1 and stage 2 womb cancers.
  • Locally advanced womb cancer
    This usually means stage 3 and stage 4A womb cancers.
  • Advanced, metastatic or secondary womb cancer
    This usually means stage 4B womb cancer.
  • Recurrent cancer
    This means a cancer that has come back after treatment. It is not usually given a stage.

Grading of womb cancer

Grading is about how the cancer cells look under the microscope compared with normal cells. The grade helps your doctor to decide about your treatment.

Grade 1 (low-grade or well differentiated)

The cancer cells look similar to normal cells and usually grow slowly and are less likely to spread.

Grade 2 (moderate-or intermediate-grade)

The cancer cells look more abnormal and are slightly faster growing.

Grade 3 (high-grade or poorly differentiated)

The cancer cells look very different from normal cells and may grow more quickly.

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