Stage 2

Stage 2 means the cancer has spread outside the cervix, into the surrounding tissues.

The main treatments are a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy (chemoradiotherapy), sometimes you may have surgery.  

What is stage 2 cervical cancer?

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

Doctors use the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) staging system for cervical cancer. There are 4 stages, numbered 1 to 4. 

Stage 2 means the cancer has begun to spread outside the neck of the womb (cervix) into the surrounding tissues. But it has not grown into the muscles or ligaments that line the pelvis (the area between the hip bones), or to the lower part of the vagina.

It can be divided into:

  • stage 2A
  • stage 2B

Stage 2A

In stage 2A the cancer has spread down into the top of the vagina. It can be divided into: 

  • stage 2A1
  • stage 2A2

Stage 2A1 means the cancer is 4 cm or less.

Stage 2A2 means the cancer is more than 4 cm.

Diagram showing stage 2A cervical cancer

Stage 2B

In stage 2B the cancer has spread up into the tissues around the cervix.

Diagram showing stage 2B cervical cancer


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

  • your type of cancer (the type of cells the cancer started in)
  • where the cancer is
  • other health conditions that you have

Stage 2A cervical cancer might be treated with: 

  • combined chemotherapy and radiotherapy (chemoradiotherapy) 
  • sometimes with stage 2A1 you may have surgery as well

Stage 2B cervical cancer is usually treated with chemoradiotherapy. 

Combined radiotherapy and chemotherapy (chemoradiotherapy)

With this treatment, you have chemotherapy during your course of radiotherapy.

You have daily external radiotherapy for 5 days every week, for around 5 weeks. You also have a boost of internal radiotherapy (brachytherapy) at the end of your course.

During your course of radiotherapy, you also have chemotherapy once a week or once every 2 or 3 weeks. This depends on the chemotherapy drugs you have.


You might have surgery if you have a stage 2A cervical cancer.

Surgery usually means that you have your womb and cervix completely removed (radical hysterectomy). Your doctor also removes the lymph nodes around your cervix and womb (pelvic lymph nodes). This is because there is a risk the cancer may have spread from the cervix to the nearby lymph nodes.

Diagram of the lymph nodes in the pelvis with para-aortic lymph nodes

Other stages

  • Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology (11th edition)
    VT DeVita , TS Lawrence, SA Rosenberg
    Wolters Kluwer, 2019

  • Cervical cancer: ESMO clinical practice guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow up
    C Marth and others 
    Annals of Oncology, 2017. Volume 28, Supplement 4

  • Cancer and its Management (7th edition)
    J Tobias and D Hochhauser
    Wiley-Blackwell, 2015

  • Cancer of the cervix uteri
    E Wiebe and others
    International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 2012. Volume 119, Supplement 2

  • 2018 FIGO Staging System for Cervical cancer: Summary and comparison with 2009 FIGO
    Staging System

    N.Singh, B. Rous and R.Ganesan

    The British Association of Gynaecological Pathologists. 2018 

Last reviewed: 
23 Jul 2020
Next review due: 
23 Jul 2023