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Survival

Survival depends on many factors. No one can tell you exactly how long you will live.

These are general statistics based on large groups of people. Remember, they can’t tell you what will happen in your individual case. 

Your doctor can give you more information about your own outlook (prognosis). You can also talk about this with the Cancer Research UK nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040, from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Survival by each stage

There are no UK-wide statistics available for vulval cancer survival by stage.

5 year survival statistics are available for some stages of vulval cancer in England. These figures are for people diagnosed between 2013 and 2017. These 5 year statistics are non-age-standardised which means they don't take into account the age of the women with vulval cancer. 

Stage 1

Around 80 out of every 100 women with stage 1 vulval cancer (around 80%) will survive for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.

Stage 2

Around 50 out of every 100 women with stage 2 vulval cancer (around 50%) will survive for 5 years or more.

Stage 3

Around 40 out of every 100 women with stage 3 vulval cancer (around 40%) will survive for 5 years or more after diagnosis.

Stage 4

The Office for National Statistics doesn't provide 5 year survival statistics for vulval cancer. The following statistics are for 1 year survival for people with stage 4 vulval cancer.

(Please remember, this doesn't mean you will only live 1 year. It relates to the number of people who are still alive 1 year after their diagnosis of cancer. Some of these people will live much longer than 1 year.)

More than 40 out of 100 people with stage 4 vulval cancer (more than 40%) will survive their cancer for 1 year or more after their diagnosis.

Survival for all stages

Generally, for women with vulval cancer in England:

  • around 85 out of 100 women (around 85%) will survive their cancer for 1 year or more after diagnosis
  • more than 65 out of 100 women (more than 65%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis

Melanoma of the vulva

Melanoma of the vulva is very rare so it is difficult to find statistics for survival.

An American study (2007) looked at 3 groups of patients. Please be aware that due to differences in health care systems, data collection and the population, these figures may not be a true picture of survival in the UK.

Localised disease

Around 75 out of every 100 women with localised vulval melanoma (around 75%) survived their disease for 5 years or more.

Localised disease has not spread beyond where it started.

Regional disease

Around 40 out of every 100 women with regional disease (around 40%) survived their disease for 5 years or more.

Regional melanoma has spread to lymph nodes.

Distant disease

More than 20 out of every 100 women with advanced vulval melanoma (more than 20%) survived their disease for 5 years or more.

Distant disease is melanoma that had spread to other body organs.

About these statistics

The term 5 year survival doesn't mean you will only live for 5 years. It relates to the number of people who live 5 years or more after their diagnosis of cancer.

What affects survival

Your outcome depends on the stage of the cancer when it was diagnosed. This means how big it is and whether it has spread.

The type of cancer and grade of the cancer cells can also affect your likely survival. Grade means how abnormal the cells look under the microscope.

More detailed statistics

Last reviewed: 
05 Mar 2019
  • Cancer survival by stage at diagnosis for England, 2019
    Office for National Statistics

  • Vulval cancer incidence, mortality and survival in England: age-related trends

    J Lai and others (2013) 

    British Journal of Gynaecology 2014;121:729–739

  • Vulvar melanoma: a multivariable analysis of 644 patients

    V Sugiyama and others 

    Obstetrics and gynaecology, 2007. Vol 2, Part 1, Pages 296-301

  • Staging for Vulval Cancer

    N. F Hacker and others

    Best Practice and Research Clinical Obstetrics and Gynaecology,  2015. Vol 29, Pages 802-811

  • Carcinoma of the Vulva

    U Beller and others

    International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, 2006. Vol 95, Issue 1, Pages S7 - S21