Cervical cancer and life expectancy (2023)

Each year in the United States, more than 14,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and the rate has fallen by more than 50% since the 1970s due to increased early screening.Depending on the stage of cervical cancer, the five-year survival rate is approximately 66%.

Main reasonCervical canceris the human papillomavirus (HPV), sexually transmitted infection (STDs). However, many women with HPV may not develop cervical cancer, but certain factors, such as smoking and HIV infection, increase the risk of developing cervical cancer.

In the early stages of cervical cancer, there are usually no signs or symptoms of the disease. As cervical cancer progresses, typical symptoms include abnormal discharge, bleeding and pelvic pain. If you develop these symptoms, make an appointment with your doctorpelvic examination.

This article further explains cervical cancer survival rates, cervical cancer stages, and different treatments to improve prognosis.

Cervical cancer and life expectancy (1)

What is the relative survival rate?

According to the National Cancer Institute, relative survival rate is defined as a way of measuring the survival of people with the same disease compared to those without the disease, usually over five years.It is calculated as the ratio of the percentage of survivors observed in the cancer group to the percentage of expected survivors compared to the population without cancer.

Stages of cervical cancer

The FIGO (International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics) classification is used to determine the stage of cervical cancer. The stages range from I to IV (1-4) and are divided into degrees of severity from A to C.

Etap I (IA-IB3)

Cancer cells can be found on the surfacecervixand in the deeper tissues of the cervix, but they did not spread to the surrounding arealymph nodesor distant places. The cancer is small (3 to 5 millimeters) and can only be seen under a microscope.

Stage II (IIA-IIB)

Stage II tumors have grown beyond the cervix and uterus, but have not spread to the pelvic walls or the lower part of the vagina. As the cancer progresses, it measures 4 centimeters, can be seen without a microscope, and has spread to tissues near the cervix.


In stage III, the cancer has progressed beyond the cervix and uterus to the lower part of the vagina and the walls of the pelvis. Cancer can block the ureters (tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder). In later stage III, the cancer metastasizes and spreads to the pelvic or para-aortic lymph nodes.


Cancer spreads to neighboring areas of the body, such as the bladder or rectum. In late stage IV, the cancer has spread to organs outside the pelvic area to distant lymph nodes, lungs, or bones.

Risk factors

Several factors can increase the risk of developing cervical cancer. They include:

  • HPV
  • sexual history
  • Dim
  • weak immune system
  • chlamydiainfection
  • long term usecontraceptive pills
  • multiple pregnancy orpregnancyat a very young age
  • A diet with few fruits and vegetables
(Video) Cervical Cancer:Spread, Survival & Life Expectancy |Cervical Cancer Screening -Dr. Sapna Lulla of C9

Five-year relative survival rates for cancer

Five-year relative survival rates are based on statistics from the SEER* database, administered by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The database does not group cancers according to FIGO, but groups them into localized, regional and distant stages:

  • Situated: No signs of cancer spreading beyond the cervix or uterus
  • Regional: Cancer has spread beyond the cervix and uterus into nearby lymph nodes
  • distant: Cancer has spread to nearby organs (such as the bladder or rectum) or distant parts of the body, such as the lungs or bones
Five-year survival rates in percentages
All steps combined66%

Improving the forecast

If you have been diagnosed with cervical cancer, your doctor will discuss different treatments depending on the stage of your cancer. Treatment options include surgery, radiotherapy,chemotherapy, EUbiological therapy.


Surgery can help treat early-stage cancer with two types of procedures that remove precancerous cells from the cervix:

  • Ablationdestroys cervical tissue with low temperatures or a laser
  • Excisional surgery cuts and removes precancerous cells

In case of invasive cancer,hysterectomy(simple or radical) is recommended.

  • A simple hysterectomy removes the uterus (vagina, lymph nodes and ovaries are not removed).
  • Aradical hysterectomyremoves the uterus and surrounding tissues, including the cervix and upper part of the vagina. Ovaries are not removed unless there is a medical reason to do so.


If the cancer has spread, your doctor may recommend a combination of chemotherapy and radiation. The most common forms of radiation include:

  • external beam radiotherapy(EBRT) uses proton beams to target cancer from a machine outside the body. This treatment is usually combined with chemotherapy. Side effects include lower blood counts, fatigue and nausea.
  • brachytherapy(internal radiation therapy) places the radiation source internally near the cancer. The most common type of brachytherapy used to treat cervical cancer is intracavitary brachytherapy, where the radiation source is placed near the cancer of the cervix or vagina.


Chemotherapy is usually used to treat advanced cervical cancer or if the cancer has returned after treatment.

Chemotherapy drugs are given as an infusion into a vein, which can take several hours. The shortest method is injection. Chemotherapy is given in cycles followed by a rest period. Cycles can last from one to three weeks, depending on the type of drug used to treat the cancer.

biological therapy

Biological therapy consists of substances used to strengthen the immune system. It can be used to treat cancer that has spread from the cervix to other parts of the body.interferonIt is the most common form of biological therapy and can be combined with chemotherapy. Interferon treatment is carried out on an outpatient basis.


The most common cause of cervical cancer is HPV. In the early stages of cervical cancer, signs or symptoms of the disease do not appear. If cancer cells are detected early, in a localized area and treated quickly, the five-year survival rate is estimated at 92%. There are several treatments for cervical cancer, including surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and biological therapy. Any treatment given will depend on the stage of the cancer.

Common questions

  • Is cervical cancer curable?

    In case of early detection in the pre-cancerous stage or phase,Cervical cancer can be cured.Treatment options can be surgical, such as ablation, which destroys cervical tissue with low temperatures or a laser, or excision surgery, which cuts out or burns away the precancerous condition.

    (Video) What is the Survival Rate for Cervical Cancer?
  • What are the early symptoms of cervical cancer?

    Early symptoms include vaginal bleeding after intercourse, between periods or after menopause, watery, bloody discharge that may be heavy and smelly, pelvic pain or pain during intercourse.

10 fontova

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts in our articles. Read ourseditorial processto learn more about how we fact-check and ensure our content is accurate, reliable and trustworthy.

  1. American Society for Clinical Oncology.Cervical cancer: statistics.

  2. American Cancer Society.Survival rates for cervical cancer.

  3. American Cancer Society.What is cervical cancer?

  4. Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Healthcare.Cervical cancer: an overview.

  5. National Cancer Institute.Relative survival rate.

  6. Visibility* Stat.relative survival.

  7. American Cancer Society.Stages of cervical cancer.

  8. Somashekhar SP, Ashwin KR.Treatment of early-stage cervical cancer.Rev Recent trials Clin. 2015;10(4):302-308. doi:10.2174/1574887110666150923113629

  9. American Cancer Society.Cervical cancer surgery.

  10. UCSF.Treatment of cervical cancer.

(Video) Cervical Cancer Stage 0 1 2 3 4 Treatment, Survival Rate and Life Expectancy

Cervical cancer and life expectancy (2)

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Rebeca Schiller is a health and wellness writer with over a decade of experience in topics such as digestive health, pain management, and holistic nutrition.

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What is the life expectancy of someone with cervical cancer? ›

When cervical cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, the 5-year relative survival rate is 91%. When cervical cancer is diagnosed after it has spread to nearby tissues, organs, or regional lymph nodes, the 5-year relative survival rate is 60%.

Can you live a long life with cervical cancer? ›

Survival for all stages of cervical cancer

more than 60 out of every 100 (more than 60%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis. more than 50 women out of every 100 (more than 50%) will survive their cancer for 10 years or more after diagnosis.

What is the survival rate for cervical cancer by age? ›

Table 2
Age RangesNumber of Cases (n)5-Year Survival
20–24.4 years62100 (93.9–100)
24.5–26 years94799.8 (99.1–99.9)
27–28.9 years640100 (99.3–100)
29 years25699.5 (96.6–99.9)
7 more rows
Jul 28, 2020

At what stage is cervical cancer untreatable? ›

Stage 4 cervical cancer is not curable in many cases.

How aggressive is cervical cancer? ›

Small cell carcinomas of the cervix tend to be highly aggressive and have low survival rates. They've often spread to lymph nodes and other parts of the body by the time of diagnosis. Treatment options often mimic those of small cell lung cancer, and include a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Can you fully recover from cervical cancer? ›

Cervical cancer is curable, but it is difficult for doctors to know for sure that it will never come back following treatment. Therefore, doctors often use the term “remission” to describe cancer that has gone away and is no longer causing symptoms.

How many years does it take for cervical cancer to spread? ›

Cervical cancer develops very slowly. It can take years or even decades for the abnormal changes in the cervix to become invasive cancer cells. Cervical cancer might develop faster in people with weaker immune systems, but it will still likely take at least 5 years.

How fast does cervical cancer spread? ›

Cervical cancer is a slow-growing malignancy. In fact, once cells in the cervix begin to undergo abnormal changes, it can take several years for the cells to grow into invasive cervical cancer.

What is the quality of life of cervical cancer patients? ›

Cervical cancer survivors had higher score in emotional and social function, global health and pain. They also reported lower score in physical and role function, fatigue, appetite loss, and financial difficulties than their healthy peers.

What is the prime age for cervical cancer? ›

Cervical cancer is most often diagnosed between the ages of 35 and 44. The average age of diagnosis in the United States is 50. Over 20% of cervical cancers are diagnosed after age 65. These cases usually occur in people who did not receive regular cervical cancer screenings before age 65.

What is the critical stage of cervical cancer? ›

Stage III cervical cancer

Cancer has spread to the lower third of the vagina but has not spread to the pelvic wall. Stage IIIB cervical cancer. Cancer has spread to the pelvic wall and/or the tumor has become large enough to block one or both ureters or has caused one or both kidneys to get bigger or stop working.

Does hysterectomy cure cervical cancer? ›

While any cancer diagnosis is worrying, cervical cancer is highly treatable, especially in its early stages. A hysterectomy is an effective strategy for managing the disease and a common procedure to treat people with early-stage cervical cancer.

Can you beat Stage 3 cervical cancer? ›

Stage III cervical cancer is currently best managed with a combination of radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Radiation therapy is treatment with high energy x-rays that have the ability to kill cancer cells.

What is late stage 3 cervical cancer? ›

Cancer has spread to the lower third of the vagina, and/or to the pelvic wall, and/or has caused kidney problems, and/or involves lymph nodes. Stage III is divided into stages IIIA, IIIB, and IIIC, based on how far the cancer has spread.

Is cervical cancer a fast spreading cancer? ›

It is usually a slow-growing cancer and if caught early can be successfully treated. Routine Pap smears can detect early changes in the cells of the cervix allowing cervical cancer to be diagnosed early.

What happens to your body when you have cervical cancer? ›

If cervical cancer is undiagnosed and untreated, it will slowly spread out of the cervix and into the surrounding tissue and organs. The cancer can spread down to the vagina and the surrounding muscles that support the bones of the pelvis.

What is the next step after being diagnosed with cervical cancer? ›

Most early-stage cervical cancers are treated with a radical hysterectomy operation, which involves removing the cervix, uterus, part of the vagina and nearby lymph nodes. A hysterectomy can cure early-stage cervical cancer and prevent recurrence. But removing the uterus makes it impossible to become pregnant.

What are the 5 warning signs of cervical cancer? ›

5 cervical cancer warning signs
  • 5 cervical cancer red flags. ...
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding. ...
  • Unusual discharge. ...
  • Painful sexual intercourse. ...
  • Pain in the pelvic region. ...
  • Complications in bowel movements.
Jan 19, 2023

How many rounds of chemo for cervical cancer? ›

The number of chemotherapy sessions you have depends on the type of cervical cancer and any other treatments you may be having. If you have chemotherapy without radiation therapy, you are likely to have up to six sessions, every 3–4 weeks, though it may continue for longer.

Does cervical cancer come back after hysterectomy? ›

Patients who've had a minimally invasive radical hysterectomy for cervical cancer treatment have an 8% chance of the cancer coming back. In other words, one out of 10 patients will have a recurrence.

What is the main cause of cervical cancer? ›

It occurs most often in people over age 30. Long-lasting infection with certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) is the main cause of cervical cancer. HPV is a common virus that is passed from one person to another during sex.

Who is most likely to get cervical cancer? ›

Becoming sexually active at an early age: The risk of high-risk HPV infection that is persistent and ultimately leads to cervical cancer is higher in people who become sexually active before age 18 and in those who have had multiple sexual partners.

Where does cervical cancer usually recur? ›

Cervical cancer recurrences can be central pelvic, lateral pelvic and extra-pelvic (6,7). Central pelvic recurrence develops from the cervix and vagina after primary radiotherapy or from the vaginal cuff and central scar after radical hysterectomy.

How do you beat cervical cancer? ›

Treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
  1. Surgery: Doctors remove cancer tissue in an operation.
  2. Chemotherapy: Using special medicines to shrink or kill the cancer. ...
  3. Radiation: Using high-energy rays (similar to X-rays) to kill the cancer.

What is the fastest growing cervical cancer? ›

Small cell cancers tend to grow quickly. They are more likely to spread to the lymph nodes or other areas of the body compared to the more common types of cervical cancer. Like other types of cervical cancer, small cell cervical cancer is linked to the human papilloma virus (HPV), particularly a type called HPV 18.

What is end of life care for cervical cancer? ›

It is about living for as long as possible in the most satisfying way you can. As well as slowing the spread of cancer, palliative treatment can relieve any pain and help manage other symptoms. Treatment may include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy or other medicines such as hormone therapy.

What lifestyle changes for cervical cancer? ›

Cervival cancer can also be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly and quitting smoking may reduce your chances of getting this cancer.

What happens in the last stages of cervical cancer? ›

Stage 4 means the cancer has spread to the bladder or back passage (rectum) or further away. The main treatments are surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy or a combination of these treatments. Or you might have treatment to control symptoms.

How common is cervical cancer over 60? ›

The findings from the study, published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention on January 9, 2023, showed nearly one in five new cervical cancers diagnosed from 2009-2018 were in women 65 and older.

How likely is cervical cancer over 50? ›

About half of all cases of cervical cancer occur in women older than 50 years, yet many women over this age think they are not at risk. Research by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) shows that: older women are still at risk of cervical cancer.

How common is cervical cancer at 60? ›

In women adequately or inadequately screened with only normal results between age 51 and age 60, the cumulative incidence of cervical cancer from age 61 to 80 was 1.6 and 2.5 per 1,000 women, respectively, and further screening at age 61–65 was not associated with statistically significant decreases of cervical cancer ...

How long can you live with Stage 4 cervical cancer? ›

The overall survival rate after grade 4 cervical cancer is less than 19%. About 46% of patients with adenocarcinoma pass the 5-year threshold, and for squamous cell tumours, the overall rate is 60%. Without treatment, patients with advanced cervical cancer live for about two to three years.

Is Stage 1 cervical cancer terminal? ›

Stage I cervical cancer is curable for the majority of patients if surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy are appropriately used. A variety of factors ultimately influence a patient's decision to receive treatment.

Which cancer is not curable? ›

Although there are no curable cancers, melanoma, Hodgkin lymphoma, and breast, prostate, testicular, cervical, and thyroid cancer have some of the highest 5-year relative survival rates. Cancer is a disease that causes cells to grow and multiply uncontrollably in certain parts of the body.

What are the symptoms of fast growing cervical cancer? ›

Cervical cancer signs and symptoms
  • vaginal bleeding between periods.
  • menstrual bleeding that is longer or heavier than usual.
  • pain during intercourse.
  • bleeding after intercourse.
  • pelvic pain.
  • a change in your vaginal discharge such as more discharge or it may have a strong or unusual colour or smell.

Would I feel ill if I had cervical cancer? ›

Advanced cervical cancer may mean you feel sick or cause other effects that can make you lose your appetite. You may lose weight anyway because of the cancer and not feel like eating as much. Making some simple changes to your diet may help with feeling sick and getting your appetite back.

What does Stage 3 cervical cancer feel like? ›

Stage 3 cervical cancer means cancer has spread to areas of the pelvis beyond the cervix. Symptoms include unusual vaginal bleeding and pelvic pain. Cervical cancer starts in the cervix, the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina.

How does removing your cervix affect you? ›

Bladder and bowel dysfunction following total hysterectomy may be related to loss of nerve ganglia closely associated with the cervix. Increased operative and postoperative morbidity, vaginal shortening, vault prolapse, abnormal cuff granulations and oviductal prolapse are other disadvantages of total hysterectomy.

Will I need chemo after a hysterectomy for cervical cancer? ›

If you have surgery and your doctor is not sure that all the cancer cells have been removed, they may recommend that you have a course of chemoradiotherapy afterwards. This lowers the risk of the cancer coming back.

Is cervical cancer hereditary? ›

Is cervical cancer hereditary? Most common types of cervical cancer are not hereditary. In fact, around 70% of cervical cancers are due to infection with human papillomavirus (HPV). However, some very rare types of cervical cancer can be hereditary, meaning they have a genetic component.

What is the average age of death from cancer? ›

Cancer deaths by age

Almost half – 46% in 2017 – of all people who die from cancer are 70 or older. Another 41 percent are between 50 and 69 years old – so that 87% of all cancer victims are older than 50 years.

Which cancer has the worst survival rate? ›

Brain and pancreatic cancers have much lower median survival rates which have not improved as dramatically over the last forty years. Indeed, pancreatic cancer has one of the worst survival rates of all cancers. Small cell lung cancer has a five-year survival rate of 4% according to Cancer Centers of America's Website.

Why is surgery not an option for stage 3 cervical cancer? ›

In advanced stage III cases, surgery to remove the uterus and/or cervix is not necessary, as the cancer has spread throughout the pelvis and, in some cases, to the ureter. Instead, your doctor may recommend a clinical trial as a supplemental treatment option.

What is the death rate of cervical cancer? ›

The 5-year relative survival rates for cervical cancer are as follows: When cervical cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, the 5-year relative survival rate is 91%. When cervical cancer is diagnosed after it has spread to nearby tissues, organs, or regional lymph nodes, the 5-year relative survival rate is 60%.

How quickly does cervical cancer spread? ›

Cervical cancer is a slow-growing malignancy. In fact, once cells in the cervix begin to undergo abnormal changes, it can take several years for the cells to grow into invasive cervical cancer.

Where does cervical cancer usually spread to first? ›

The most common places for cervical cancer to spread is to the lymph nodes, liver, lungs and bones.

Is cervical cancer curable at stage 3? ›

Cervical cancer can sometimes be cured when it's found in earlier stages. This is more difficult to do when it has reached more advanced stages, such as stage 3. However, it can still be managed with the goal of achieving remission.

What are the odds of dying from cervical cancer? ›

About 44% of people with cervical cancer are diagnosed at an early stage. If cervical cancer has spread to surrounding tissues or organs and/or the regional lymph nodes, the 5-year relative survival rate is 59%. If the cancer has spread to a distant part of the body, the 5-year relative survival rate is 17%.

Is cervical cancer a fast moving cancer? ›

It is usually a slow-growing cancer and if caught early can be successfully treated. Routine Pap smears can detect early changes in the cells of the cervix allowing cervical cancer to be diagnosed early.

Who gets cervical cancer the most? ›

Each year in the United States, about 13,000 new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed and about 4,000 women die of this cancer. Hispanic women have the highest rates of developing cervical cancer, and Black women have the highest rates of dying from cervical cancer.

What are the symptoms of Stage 1 cervical cancer? ›

Cervical Cancer: Symptoms and Signs
  • Blood spots or light bleeding between or following periods.
  • Menstrual bleeding that is longer and heavier than usual.
  • Bleeding after intercourse, douching, or a pelvic examination.
  • Increased vaginal discharge.
  • Pain during sexual intercourse.
  • Bleeding after menopause.

How long does it take HPV to turn into cervical cancer? ›

Research has found that it can take 10 to 20 years, or even longer, for HPV-infected cervical cells to develop into a cancerous tumor. Among women whose cervical cells are infected with high-risk HPV, several factors increase the chance that the infection will be long lasting and lead to precancerous cervical cells.

What were your first signs of cervical cancer? ›

Cervical Cancer Symptoms
  • vaginal bleeding after sex.
  • vaginal bleeding after menopause.
  • vaginal bleeding between periods or periods that are heavier or longer than normal.
  • vaginal discharge that is watery and has a strong odor or that contains blood.
  • pelvic pain or pain during sex.
Oct 13, 2022


1. Cervical Cancer - Michelle Whitlock's Journey
(Johnson & Johnson)
2. Late-stage cervical cancer cases on the rise
(News4JAX The Local Station)
3. Cervical Cancer Signs & Symptoms (& Why They Occur)
(JJ Medicine)
4. How long does it take for Cervical Cancer to develop? - Dr. Neelesh Reddy
(Doctors' Circle World's Largest Health Platform)
5. Signs and Symptoms of Stage 4 Cervical Cancer Dr Ali Mahdavi
(VINA Health)
6. Heidi's Story: HPV and Cervical Cancer
(Penn Medicine)


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