Understanding Your Stage of Endometrial Cancer
Stage is the word doctors use to describe where the tumor is and how far the cancer has spread. Doctors use stages to describe what was found in and around the uterus during surgery. So the stage of endometrial cancer may not be decided until after your uterus is removed.
The most commonly used system to stage endometrial cancer is the FIGO staging system, developed by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, and the AJCC system, developed by the American Joint Committee on Cancer, called TNM staging. The most recent AJCC system was updated in 2010 and is described here.
Stage I. The cancer is only in the body of the uterus. The body is called the corpus.
Stage IA. The cancer is only in the endometrium, which is the uterine lining, or it has spread less than halfway through the myometrium, which is the muscular outer layer of the uterus.
Stage II. The cancer has spread from the uterus to the connective tissue in the cervix. The cervix is the lower end of the uterus that connects to the vagina.
Stage III. The cancer has spread from the uterus. But it is still only in the pelvic area.
Stage IV. The cancer has spread beyond the pelvic area.
Cancer that comes back after it has been treated is said to have recurred.