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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.

 

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.

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.

 

Outcome overall and by stage

The overall survival statistics we have below are for women diagnosed with cervical cancer in England and Wales.

Of all the women diagnosed with cancer of the cervix, more than 80 out of every 100 (80%) will survive for a year or more after they are diagnosed.  Around 67 out of every 100 (67%) will survive for 5 years or more. And almost 66 women out of every 100 (66%) will survive for 10 years or more after diagnosis. 

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. Survival statistics are available for each stage of cervical cancer in one area of England. These figures are for women diagnosed during 2002 to 2006. The statistics are likely to be similar in the rest of the UK.

Stage 1

Stage 1 cervical cancer means the cancer is only in the cervix. Overall, around 95 out of 100  women with stage 1 cervical cancer (95%) will survive for 5 years or more after diagnosis.  Stage 1 cervical cancer 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 if they are completely removed. But a stage 1B2 cervical cancer, which may be larger than 4cm in diameter, still has a very good chance of cure. 

Stage 2

Stage 2 means that the cancer has spread to tissue close to the cervix. Overall, more than 50 out of 100 women with stage 2 cervical cancer (50%) will survive for 5 years or more after diagnosis. Stage 2  is divided into 2 main groups: stages 2A and 2B. The outlook for women diagnosed with stage 2A cervical cancer, is slightly better than for women with stage 2B cervical cancer. 

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. Overall, almost 40 out of 100 women with stage 3 cervical cancer (40%) will survive for five years or more after diagnosis.

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. Overall 5 out of 100 women (5%) will survive for 5 years or more after being diagnosed 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 trials for cervical cancer on our clinical trials database.

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Updated: 19 June 2014