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  • Staging and prognosis of cervical cancer



    Your doctor will assign a stage to your cancer which will help you and your health care team decide which treatment option is best for you.

    In Australia, cervical cancer is usually staged using the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) staging system. It is often used for other cancers of the female reproductive organs. FIGO divides cervical cancer into four stages. Each stage is further divided into several sub-stages. 



    Prognosis means the expected outcome of a disease. You may wish to discuss your prognosis and treatment options with your doctor, but it is not possible for any doctor to predict the exact course of the disease.

    In general, the earlier cervical cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome. Most early-stage cervical cancers have a good prognosis with high survival rates. If cancer is found after it has spread to other parts of the body (referred to as an advanced stage), the prognosis is worse and there is a higher chance of recurrence.

    To work out your prognosis, your doctor will consider:

    • your test results
    • the type of cervical cancer you have
    • the rate and depth of tumour growth
    • other factors such as your age, fitness and medical history.

    Which health professionals will I see?

    Your GP will arrange the first tests to assess your symptoms or investigate the results of an abnormal screening test. If these initial tests do not rule out cancer, you will be referred to a gynaecologist or gynaecological oncologist for more tests and treatment.

    You will be cared for by a range of health professionals who are part of a multidisciplinary team (MDT). The table below describes the roles of the people who may be in your MDT.

    This website page was last reviewed and updated December 2017.

    Information reviewed by:  Prof Ian Hammond, Gynaecological Oncologist (retired), WA and Chair, Cancer Council Australia Cervical Cancer Screening Guidelines Working Party, National Cervical Screening Program: Guidelines for the management of screen-detected abnormalities, screening in specific populations and investigation of abnormal vaginal bleeding. Cancer Council Australia, Sydney, 2016; Jennifer Duggan, Clinical Nurse Consultant Gynaecological Oncology, Royal Hospital for Women, NSW; Dr Rhonda Farrell, Gynaecological Oncologist, Royal Hospital for Women, Prince of Wales Private Hospital, St George Hospital, and Conjoint Lecturer, School of Women’s & Children’s Health, University of NSW; Melinda Grant, Consumer; Karen Hall, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Dr Pearly Khaw, Consultant Radiation Oncologist, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Megan Smith, Program Manager – Cervix/HPV and Breast Group, Cancer Research Division, Cancer Council NSW

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