ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the number of women who are diagnosed with vaginal cancer each year. You will also read general information about surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. Use the menu to see other pages.
Vaginal cancer is uncommon. Approximately 1 of every 1,100 women will be diagnosed with the disease during her lifetime. This year, an estimated 5,350 women in the United States will be diagnosed with vaginal cancer. Recent research has shown that about 75% of vaginal cancers diagnosed from 2008 through 2012 were due to human papillomavirus or HPV (see Risk Factors and Prevention). A woman’s risk for vaginal cancer increases with age. Similar to cervical cancer, vaginal cancer is more common among groups of women who are less likely to have access to screening for cervical cancer.
It is estimated that 1,430 deaths from this disease will occur this year.
Survival rates for vaginal cancer vary based on different factors, including the stage (or extent) of the disease at the time of diagnosis. The 5-year survival rate tells you what percent of women live at least 5 years after the cancer is found. Percent means how many out of 100. Overall, the 5-year survival rate for women with all stages of vaginal cancer is 47%.
Because vaginal cancer is rare, its survival rates are given in ranges. If cancer is found at the earliest stage before it has spread (stage I; see Stages), the 5-year survival rate ranges from 75% to 95%. If the cancer has not spread outside the vagina (stage II), the 5-year survival rate is 50% to 80%. If it is found after the cancer has spread outside of the vaginal wall (stage III or IV), the 5-year survival rate ranges from 15% to 60%.
It is important to remember that statistics on the survival rates for women with vaginal cancer are an estimate. The estimate comes from annual data based on the number of women with this cancer in the United States. Also, experts measure the survival statistics every 5 years. So the estimate may not show the results of better diagnosis or treatments that have been available for less than 5 years. Talk with your doctor if you have any questions about this information. Learn more about understanding statistics.
Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society's (ACS) publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2017: Special Section – Rare Cancers in Adults, and the ACS website (January 2019).
The next section in this guide is Medical Illustrations. It offers drawings of body parts often affected by vaginal cancer. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.