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Cervical cancer statistics and outlook

Women discussing cervical cancer

This page is about statistics and what they can tell us about the outlook for people with cervical cancer. There is information about

 

A quick guide to what's on this page

Cervical cancer statistics and outlook

Outlook means your chances of getting better. Your doctor may call this your prognosis. With cervical cancer, the likely outcome depends on how advanced the cancer is when it is diagnosed (the stage).

We have included quite detailed information about the likely outcome of different stages of cervical cancer. The statistics we use are taken from a variety of sources, including the opinions and experience of the experts who check each section of Cancer Research UK's patient information. They are intended as a general guide only. For the more complete picture in your case, you’d have to speak to your own specialist.

We include statistics because people ask for them, but not everyone wishes to read this type of information. 

How reliable are cancer statistics?

No statistics can tell you what will happen to you. Your cancer is unique. The same type of cancer can grow at different rates in different people. The statistics cannot tell you about the different treatments people may have had, or how that treatment may have affected their prognosis. There are many individual factors that will affect your treatment and your outlook.
 

CR PDF Icon You can view and print the quick guides for all the pages in the treating cervical cancer section.

 

 

What you need to know about this information

This page contains quite detailed information about the survival rates of different stages of cervical cancer. We have included it because many people have asked us for this. But not everyone who is diagnosed with a cancer wishes to read this type of information. If you are not sure whether you want to know at the moment or not, then perhaps you might like to skip this page for now. You can always come back to it.

Please note: There are no national statistics available for different stages of cancer or treatments that people may have had. The statistics we present here are pulled together from a variety of different sources, including the opinions and experience of the experts that check each section of Cancer Research UK's patient information. We provide statistics because people ask us for them. But they are only intended as a general guide and cannot be regarded as any more than that.

 

Cancer statistics in general

We have a section explaining more about the different types of cancer statistics. Unless you are very familiar with medical statistics, it might help to read this before you read the statistics below.

Remember that statistics are averages based on large numbers of patients. They cannot predict exactly what will happen to you. Everyone is different and response to treatment also varies from one person to another.

You should feel free to ask your doctor about your prognosis, but not even your doctor can tell you for sure what will happen. You may hear your doctor use the term 5 year survival. This doesn't mean you will only live 5 years. It relates to the number of people in research who were still alive 5 years after diagnosis. Doctors follow what happens to people for a number of years after treatment in any research study so that they can compare the results of different treatments.

 

Outcome overall and by stage

Of all the women diagnosed with cancer of the cervix, about 83 out of every 100 (83%) live for at least a year after they are diagnosed.  Around 67 out of every 100 (67%) will live for at least 5 years. And around 63 women out of every 100 (63%) will live for at least 10 years. 

As with many other types of cancer, the outcome depends on how advanced your cancer is when it is diagnosed. In other words, the stage of your cancer. Since the 1970s, the number of deaths from cervical cancer in the UK has been falling. The main reason for this is the introduction of the national screening programme in the 1960s. Regular screening has meant that pre cancerous changes and early stage cervical cancers have been picked up and treated early. Figures suggest that cervical screening is saving 5,000 lives each year in the UK by preventing cervical cancer.

The links below take you down the page to specific information about the outlook for each stage of cervical cancer.

Stage 1

Stage 1 cervical cancer means the cancer is only in the cervix. It is is now divided into 4 groups: stage 1A1, stage 1A2, stage 1B1 and stage 1B2, depending on the size of the cancer. The outcome or chance of being cured is better the earlier the cancer is detected. Smaller cancers have a better prognosis. The smallest tumours of only a few millimetres (stage 1A1) are very unlikely to recur and have a cure rate of 98 to 99%, if they are completely removed. For stage 1A2 cancers the cure rate is between 95 and 98%. For stage 1B1 cancers the cure rate is between 90 to 95%. A stage 1B2 cervical cancer, which may be larger than 4cm in diameter, still has a very good chance of cure. 8 out of 10 women (80%) with stage 1B2 cervical cancer will be cured.

Stage 2

Stage 2 means that the cancer has spread to tissue close to the cervix. It is divided into 2 main groups: stages 2A and 2B. For all those women diagnosed with stage 2A cervical cancer, between 7 and 9 out of 10 (70 to 90%) will be alive 5 years later.

For stage 2B the figures are slightly lower. Between 6 and 7 out of every 10 women (60 to 70%) will be alive 5 years after diagnosis.

Stage 3

Stage 3 means the cancer has spread to the lower vagina or the side of the pelvis. As you might expect, the survival statistics fall with the more advanced stages of cervical cancer. Between 3 and 5 out of 10 women (30 to 50%) live at least five years after a diagnosis of stage 3 cervical cancer.

Stage 4

Stage 4 means the cancer has spread to distant organs or into the bladder or bowel. As it is the most advanced stage, the survival statistics are lowest for stage 4 cervical cancers. 20 out of 100 women (20%) will live 5 years or longer with stage 4 cervical cancer. These are figures for all stage 4 cervical cancers. The figures will be slightly higher for women with stage 4A cancers and lower for those with stage 4B cancers.

 

Other factors

There are other factors that can affect your outlook (prognosis), apart from the stage of your cancer. For example, how well you are overall. Doctors have a way of grading how well you are. They call this your performance status. A score of 0 means you are completely able to look after yourself. A score of 1 means you can do most things for yourself, but need some help. The scores continue to go up, depending on how much help you need.

If you are weak from losing weight or being in pain, and feel very tired, you will need more day to day help, so your performance score will be at least 1. You may see performance status written PS.

 

How reliable these statistics are

No statistics can tell you what will happen to you. Your cancer is unique and so are you. The same type of cancer can grow at different rates in different people. The statistics are not detailed enough to tell you about the different treatments people may have had. And how that treatment may have affected their prognosis. Chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy may help people to live longer, as well as relieving their symptoms. There are many individual factors that will determine your treatment and prognosis. If you are fit enough to have treatment, you are likely to do better than average, particularly if your cancer is more advanced.

 

Clinical trials

We have detailed information about clinical trials on this website. You can search our clinical trials database for trials for cervical cancer. Choose 'cervical (cervix)' from the drop down menu of cancer types.

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Updated: 19 June 2014