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This year, an estimated 4,700 women in the United States will be diagnosed with vulvar cancer. It is estimated that 990 deaths from this disease will occur this year. Vulvar cancer accounts for about 4% of cancers in female reproductive organs and 0.6% of all cancers in women. Its incidence is increasing in young women because of its association with the human papillomavirus (HPV). See the Risk Factors section for more information on HPV.
The five-year survival rate (percentage of people who survive at least five years after the cancer is detected, excluding those who die from other diseases) of women with vulvar cancer depends on several factors, including the type of vulvar cancer and the stage (or extent) of disease at the time it is diagnosed. For the most common type of vulvar cancer, squamous cell cancer, the five-year survival rate for a woman with the earliest stage (Stage I) of disease is 93%, while the most advanced stage of this disease (called Stage IV) is 29%. For the adenocarcinoma type of vulvar cancer, the five-year survival rate for a woman with Stage I disease is nearly 100%, while Stage III of this disease is 74%. For vulvar melanoma, the five-year survival rate for a woman with Stage I disease is 83%, while Stage III is 35%. (Please note that there are Stage IV diagnoses for adenocarcinoma and melanoma, but survival data are not available.)
Cancer survival statistics should be interpreted with caution. These estimates are based on data from thousands of women with this type of cancer in the United States each year, but the actual risk for a particular individual may differ. It is not possible to tell a woman how long she will live with vulvar cancer. Learn more about understanding statistics.
Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society's (ACS) publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2013, and the ACS website.