ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the estimated number of people who will be diagnosed with vaginal cancer each year. You will also read general information about surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors, and no 2 people with cancer are the same. Use the menu to see other pages.
Every person is different, with different factors influencing their risk of being diagnosed with this cancer and the chance of recovery after a diagnosis. It is important to talk with your doctor about any questions you have around the general statistics provided below and what they may mean for you individually. The original sources for these statistics are provided at the bottom of this page.
How many people are diagnosed with vaginal cancer?
Vaginal cancer is uncommon. In 2023, an estimated 8,470 people in the United States will be diagnosed with vaginal cancer. About 75% of vaginal cancers are caused by human papillomavirus, or HPV (see Risk Factors and Prevention). A person’s risk for vaginal cancer increases with age, and the average age of diagnosis is 67. Vaginal cancer is more common among people who are less likely to have access to screening for cervical cancer. Worldwide, an estimated 17,908 people were diagnosed with vaginal cancer in 2020.
It is estimated that 1,740 deaths from this disease will occur in the United States in 2023. In 2020, an estimated 7,995 people worldwide died from vaginal cancer.
What is the survival rate for vaginal cancer?
There are different types of statistics that can help doctors evaluate a person’s chance of recovery from vaginal cancer. These are called survival statistics. A specific type of survival statistic is called the relative survival rate. It is often used to predict how having cancer may affect life expectancy. Relative survival rate looks at how likely people with vaginal cancer are to survive for a certain amount of time after their initial diagnosis or start of treatment compared to the expected survival of similar people without this cancer.
Example: Here is an example to help explain what a relative survival rate means. Please note this is only an example and not specific to this type of cancer. Let’s assume that the 5-year relative survival rate for a specific type of cancer is 90%. “Percent” means how many out of 100. Imagine there are 1,000 people without cancer, and based on their age and other characteristics, you expect 900 of the 1,000 to be alive in 5 years. Also imagine there are another 1,000 people similar in age and other characteristics as the first 1,000, but they all have the specific type of cancer that has a 5-year survival rate of 90%. This means it is expected that 810 of the people with the specific cancer (90% of 900) will be alive in 5 years.
It is important to remember that statistics on the survival rates for people with vaginal cancer are only an estimate. They cannot tell an individual person if cancer will or will not shorten their life. Instead, these statistics describe trends in groups of people previously diagnosed with the same disease, including specific stages of the disease.
The 5-year relative survival rate for vaginal cancer in the United States is 51%.
The survival rates for vaginal cancer vary based on several factors. These include the stage of cancer, a person’s age and general health, and how well the treatment plan works.
If the cancer is found at the earliest stage before it has spread outside the vaginal wall, the 5-year relative survival rate is 69%. If the cancer has spread to surrounding tissues or organs and/or to the regional lymph nodes, the 5-year relative survival rate is 57%. If the cancer has spread to a distant part of the body, the 5-year relative survival rate is 26%.
Experts measure relative survival rate statistics for vaginal cancer every 5 years. This means the estimate may not reflect the results of advancements in how vaginal cancer is diagnosed or treated from the last 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 2023, and the websites of the ACS, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and the National Cancer Institute. (All sources accessed March 2023.)
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.