ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the estimated number of people who will be diagnosed with vulvar cancer each year. You will also read general information on 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 vulvar cancer?
In 2023, an estimated 6,470 people in the United States will be diagnosed with vulvar cancer. Vulvar cancer makes up about 6% of cancers diagnosed in the female reproductive organs and less than 1% of all cancers in women. Worldwide, an estimated 45,240 people were diagnosed with vulvar cancer in 2020.
It is estimated that 1,670 deaths from this disease will occur in the United States in 2023. In 2020, an estimated 17,427 people worldwide died from vulvar cancer.
What is the survival rate for vulvar cancer?
There are different types of statistics that can help doctors evaluate a person’s chance of recovery from vulvar 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 vulvar 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 vulvar 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 vulvar cancer in the United States is 70%.
The survival rates for vulvar 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. Another factor that can affect outcomes is the type of vulvar cancer.
The 5-year relative survival rate for vulvar cancer that has not spread beyond the vulva is 86%. An estimated 60% of vulvar cancers are diagnosed at this local stage. For cancer that has spread to surrounding tissues or organs and/or to the regional lymph nodes, the 5-year relative survival rate is 48%. The relative survival rate is 23% if the cancer has spread to a distant part of the body.
Experts measure relative survival rate statistics for vulvar cancer every 5 years. This means the estimate may not reflect the results of advancements in how vulvar 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 website, the International Agency for Research on Cancer website, and the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program. (All sources accessed March 2023.)
The next section in this guide is Risk Factors and Prevention. It describes the factors that may increase the chance of developing vulvar cancer. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.