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Stage 1 womb cancer

The stage of a cancer tells you how big it is and how far it’s spread. It helps your doctor decide which treatment you need.

Stage 1 cancers are early cancers and the easiest to treat. The cancer is within the womb. Stage 1 is divided into stage 1A and 1B.

  • 1A means that the cancer may have grown into the muscle wall (myometrium) of the womb, but no more than halfway
  • 1B means the cancer has grown halfway or more into the muscle wall of the womb
Diagram showing Stage 1 womb cancer

Treatment

The stage of your cancer helps your doctor to decide which treatment you need. Treatment also depends on:

  • the type of womb cancer you have
  • how the cancer is likely to behave (the grade)
  • your general health
  • your preferences

Surgery

Surgery is the main treatment for stage 1 womb cancer.

Your surgeon removes your womb and cervix. This is a hysterectomy. They usually also remove both of your fallopian tubes and ovaries. They may also remove lymph nodes in your pelvis to check for cancer cells. The surgeon who does the surgery is usually a specialist surgeon called a gynaecological oncologist.

You might have radiotherapy if you can't have surgery because of other health conditions

Treatment after surgery

Treatment after surgery is called adjuvant treatment. It lowers the chance of the cancer coming back.

You might not need adjuvant treatment if you have a very early cancer that has a low risk of coming back. This is generally stage 1A, and the cells don't look very abnormal. This means it is grade 1 or 2 cancer.

Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy uses high energy rays similar to x-rays to kill cancer cells. Women with a higher risk of their cancer coming back will usually have radiotherapy after surgery. So you might have it if you have a high grade cancer or stage 1B. You might have internal radiotherapy or external radiotherapy. Internal radiotherapy is also called brachytherapy.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy uses anti cancer drugs to destroy cancer cells. Some women with high grade or type 2 endometrial cancers may have chemotherapy as well as radiotherapy after surgery. So if you have a serous carcinoma you might need to have chemotherapy.

More information

Last reviewed: 
30 Jan 2020
Next review due: 
10 Feb 2023
  • Cancer of the corpus uteri (FIGO Cancer Report 2018)

    F Amant and others 

    International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, 2018. Vol 143 Supplement 2): pages 37–50

  • ESMO-ESGO-ESTRO Consensus Conference on Endometrial Cancer: diagnosis, treatment and follow-up

    N Columbo and others  

    Annals of Oncology, 2016. 27: 16–41

  •  

    BGCS Uterine Cancer Guidelines: Recommendations for Practice 
    Sudha Sundar and others
    Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Bioliology, 2017. Jun;213:71-97.

    Also available: BGCS Uterine Cancer Guidelines: Recommendations for Practice