When endometrial cancer is diagnosed, it is vital to determine if the cancer has spread beyond the uterus. Your treatment team may do more tests to determine if the cancer has spread. In addition, during surgery, certain additional steps should be performed to determine the extent of the disease. This process is called staging. Staging helps to determine the exact extent of your cancer and what treatment plan is best for you.
Following surgery, your cancer will be categorized into one of the following stages:
Stage I: The cancer is found only in the uterus. It has not spread to the cervix (opening of the uterus).
Stage II: The cancer has spread from the uterus to the cervix (opening of the uterus), but it has not gone any farther.
Stage III: The cancer has spread outside the uterus itself. If may have spread to nearby lymph nodes, ovaries, fallopian tubes and vagina, but has not gone outside the pelvic area. It has not spread to the bladder or rectum.
Stage IV: The cancer has spread into the bladder or rectum and/or to other body parts outside the pelvis, such as the abdomen or lungs.
The cancer will also be assigned a grade. Grade refers to how abnormal the cells appear under a microscope. Low grade tumors, also called grade 1, have features that resemble normal uterine cells. In contrast, in high grade tumors (grades 3) the microscopic appearance is greatly altered from normal.