Vulval cancer statistics

Cases

New cases of vulval cancer, 2013, UK

Deaths

Deaths from vulval cancer, 2014, UK

Prevention

Preventable cases of vulval cancer, UK

  • There were around 1,300 new cases of vulval cancer in the UK in 2013, that’s around 4 cases diagnosed every day.
  • Vulval cancer accounts for less than 1% of all new cases in the UK (2013).
  • In females in the UK, vulval cancer is the 20th most common cancer, with around 1,300 cases diagnosed in 2013.
  • Almost 6 in 10 (56%) vulval cancer cases in the UK each year are diagnosed in females aged 70 and over (2011-2013).
  • Since the late 1970s, vulval cancer incidence rates in females have increased by more than a tenth (13%) in Great Britain.
  • Over the last decade, vulval cancer incidence rates in females have increased by a tenth (10%) in the UK.
  • Vulval cancer in England is more common in females living in the most deprived areas.
  • 1 in 275 women will be diagnosed with vulval cancer during their lifetime.

Read more in-depth vulval cancer incidence statistics

  • There were around 450 vulval cancer deaths in the UK in 2014, that’s more than 1 death every day.
  • Vulval cancer accounts for less than 1% of all cancer deaths in females in the UK (2014).
  • In females in the UK, vulval cancer is the 20th most common cause of cancer death, with around 450 deaths in 2014.
  • Vulval cancer mortality is declining. Rates have decreased by more than 40% since the early 1970s.
  • Vulval cancer is more common in older women – more than a third of vulval cancer deaths are in women aged 85 and over.
  • Vulval cancer deaths in England are more common in females living in the most deprived areas.

Read more in-depth vulval cancer mortality statistics

  • 40% of vulval cancer cases each year in the UK are linked to major lifestyle and other risk factors.
  • A woman’s risk of developing vulval cancer depends on many factors, including age,genetics, and exposure to risk factors (including some potentially avoidable lifestyle factors).
  • Evidence on vulval cancer risk factors is limited, mainly because this cancer is relatively rare.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is the main potentially avoidable risk factor for vulval cancer, linked to an estimated 40% of vulval cancer cases in the UK. Some other factors may relate to vulval cancer risk partly because they are related to HPV.
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and problems with the immune system may relate to higher vulval cancer risk, but evidence is unclear.

Read more in-depth vulval cancer risk factors

  • ‘Two-week wait’ standards are met by all countries, ‘31-day wait’ is met by all but Northern Ireland and Wales, and ’62-day wait’ is met by all but Wales, Northern Ireland and only partly by Scotland for gynaecological cancers.
  • Around 7 in 10 vulval cancer patients receive major surgical resection as part of their cancer treatment.
  • 9 in 10 patients had a ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ patient experience.
  • Almost 9 in 10 of patients are given the name of their Clinical Nurse Specialist.

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The latest statistics available for vulval cancer in the UK are; incidence 2013, mortality 2014. Reliable survival data for the UK is currently not available.

The ICD code Open a glossary item for vulval cancer is ICD-10 C51.

European Age-Standardised Rates were calculated using the 1976 European Standard Population (ESP) unless otherwise stated as calculated with ESP2013. ASRs calculated with ESP2013 are not comparable with ASRs calculated with ESP1976.

Lifetime risk estimates were calculated using incidence, mortality, population and all-cause mortality data for 2010-2012 due to the small number of cases.

Overall, the evidence on vulval cancer risk factors is limited, mainly because of the relative rarity and of this cancer type. Many studies combine vulval and vaginal cancer in order to obtain a larger number of cases for analysis.

Meta-analyses Open a glossary item and systematic reviews Open a glossary item are cited where available, as they provide the best overview of all available research and most take study quality into account. Individual case-control and cohort studies are reported where such aggregated data are lacking.

Cancer waiting times statistics are for patients who entered the health care system within financial year 2014-15. Vulval cancer is part of the group 'Gynaecological cancer' for cancer waiting times data. Codes vary per country but broadly include: Vulva, vagina, cervix, uterus, ovary, other female genital organs, placenta and secondary cancers of ovary.

Cancer surgical resection rates data is for patients diagnosed in England between 2006 and 2010.

Patient Experience data is for adult patients in England with a primary diagnosis of cancer, who were in active treatment between September and November 2013 and who completed a survey in 2014.

Deprivation gradient statistics were calculated using incidence data for three time periods: 1996-2000, 2001-2005 and 2006-2010 and for mortality for two time periods: 2002-2006 and 2007-2011. The 1997-2001 mortality data were only used for the all cancers combined group as this time period includes the change in coding from ICD-9 to ICD-10. The deprivation quintiles were calculated using the Income domain scores from the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) from the following years: 2004, 2007 and 2010. Full details on the data and methodology can be found in the Cancer by Deprivation in England NCIN report.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to acknowledge the essential work of the cancer registries in the United Kingdom and Ireland Association of Cancer Registries, without which there would be no data.

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