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Survival

Survival depends on many different factors. So no one can tell you exactly how long you will live. It depends on your:

  • type and stage of cancer
  • level of fitness
  • previous treatment

These are general statistics based on large groups of patients. 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 for all stages

In England, of all the women diagnosed with cancer of the vagina or cancer of the vulva:

  • more than 80 out of 100 women (more than 80%) will survive their cancer for 1 year or more after diagnosis
  • around 65 out of 100 women (around 65%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis
  • around 55 out of 100 women (around 55%) will survive their cancer for 10 years or more after their diagnosis

Survival by each stage

There are no national statistics available for vulval cancer survival by stage.

The statistics below come from a large, international organisation of specialists in women's cancer called FIGO (International Federation of Gynaecology Oncologists).

They collected information on over 1,600 women with vulval cancer across the world. So, these figures are international and might not reflect survival in the UK. 

The figures are now over 15 years old. As vulval cancer is rare, it is difficult to collect this information. 

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 60 out of every 100 women with stage 2 vulval cancer (around 60%) will survive for 5 years or more.

Stage 3

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

Stage 4

Almost 15 women out of every 100 women with stage 4 vulval cancer (almost 15%) will survive for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed

It is important to bear in mind that these statistics relate to women who were diagnosed several years ago. Survival rates may be better for women who are recently diagnosed because they will benefit from any recent improvements in treatment.

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 Research UK

    Cancer Statistics series

    Accessed February 2019

  • Cancer of the Vulva

    FIGO cancer report 2018

    L Rogers and M Cuello

    International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, 2018. Vol 143,  Issue S2, Pages 4-13

  • 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

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