ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the number of women who are diagnosed with vaginal cancer each year. You will 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. This year, an estimated 4,810 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 1,240 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. The 5-year survival rate for women with any type of vaginal cancer is 47%.
If cancer is found at the earliest stage before it has spread (stage I; see Stages), the 5-year survival rate is 84%. Around 32% of women are diagnosed at this stage. If the cancer has not spread outside the vagina (stage II), the 5-year survival rate is 75%. If it is found after the cancer has spread outside of the vaginal wall (stage III or IV), the 5-year survival rate is 57%.
The 5-year survival rate can also depend on the type of vaginal cancer. For squamous cell carcinoma of the vagina, the 5-year survival rate is 54%. For adenocarcinoma of the vagina, the rate is about 60%. For vaginal melanoma, the rate is 13%.
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. Women should talk with their doctor if they have 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.
The next section in this guide is Medical Illustrations. It offers drawings of body parts often affected by this disease. You may use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.