Vulvar Cancer: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 01/2020

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the number of women who are diagnosed with vulvar cancer each year. You will read general information on surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. Use the menu to see other pages.

This year, an estimated 6,120 women in the United States will be diagnosed with vulvar cancer. Vulvar cancer makes up about 6% of cancers diagnosed in a woman’s reproductive organs and less than 1% of all cancers in women. Recent research has shown that about 69% of vulvar cancers diagnosed from 2008 through 2012 were due to human papillomavirus (HPV), the latest available years of data. See the Risk Factors and Prevention section for more information on HPV. A woman’s risk for vulvar cancer continually increases with age. White women are most likely to be diagnosed with the disease.

It is estimated that 1,350 deaths from vulvar cancer will occur this year.

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 vulvar cancer is 71%. However, survival rates depend on several factors, including the type of vulvar cancer and the stage of disease at the time it is diagnosed.

The 5-year survival rate for cancer that has not spread beyond the vulva is 86%. Around 59% of vulvar cancer is diagnosed at this local stage. For cancer that has spread to surrounding tissues or organs and/or the regional lymph nodes, the 5-year survival rate is 53%. The survival rate is almost 23% if the cancer has spread to a distant part of the body.

It is important to remember that statistics on the survival rates for women with vulvar 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 treatment 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) publications, Cancer Facts & Figures 2020 and Cancer Facts & Figures 2017: Special Section on Rare Cancers in Adults, the ACS website, and the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program (all sources accessed January 2020).

The next section in this guide is Risk Factors and Prevention. It explains what factors may increase the chance of developing vulvar cancer. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.