Canadian Cancer Society logo

Cervical cancer

You are here: 

Grading cervical cancer

To find out the grade of cervical cancer, the pathologist looks at a tissue sample from the cervix under a microscope. The pathologist gives cervical cancer a grade from 1 to 3. The lower the number, the lower the grade.

The grade is a description of the degree of differentiation of the cancer cells. Differentiation is how the cancer cells look and behave compared to normal cells.

Low grade means that the cancer cells are well differentiated. They look almost like normal cells. Lower grade cancer cells tend to be slow growing and are less likely to spread.

High grade means that the cancer cells are poorly differentiated, or undifferentiated. They look more abnormal than low-grade cancer cells. Higher grade cancer cells tend to grow more quickly and are more likely to spread than low-grade cancer cells.

Knowing the grade gives your healthcare team an idea of how quickly the cancer may be growing and how likely it is to spread. This helps them plan your treatment. The grade can also help the healthcare team predict your prognosis and how you might respond to treatment.


Tyler Cook This research saved my life and my sister’s life. Without it, stomach cancer would have wiped out most of our family.

Read Tyler's story

Celebrating cancer survivors at Relay For Life

Relay For Life illustration

For cancer survivors, the Canadian Cancer Society provides a unique opportunity to celebrate their courage in the fight against cancer. During hundreds of Relay For Life events across the country, thousands of survivors join together for the Survivors’ Victory Lap.

Learn more