Survival of vulval cancer

Survival depends on different factors. So no one can tell you exactly how long you will live.

Doctors usually work out the outlook for a certain disease by looking at large groups of people. Because this cancer is less common, survival is harder to estimate than for other, more common cancers.

Some of the statistics have to be based on a small number of people. Remember, they can't tell you what will happen in your individual case.

Your doctor can give you more information about your own outlook (prognosis).

You can also talk about this to the Cancer Research UK nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040, from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

About these statistics

The terms 1 year survival and 5 year survival don't mean that you will only live for 1 or 5 years.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) and researchers collect information. They watch what happens to people with cancer in the years after their diagnosis. 5 years is a common time point to measure survival. But some people live much longer than this.

5 year survival is the number of people who have not died from their cancer within 5 years after diagnosis.

Survival by stage

There are no UK-wide statistics available for vulval cancer survival by stage.

5 year survival statistics are available for some stages of vulval cancer in England. These figures are for people diagnosed between 2013 and 2017. These 5 year statistics are non-age-standardised which means they don't take into account the age of the women with vulval cancer. 

Stage 1

Around 80 out of every 100 women with stage 1 vulval cancer (around 80%) will survive for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.

Stage 2

Around 50 out of every 100 women with stage 2 vulval cancer (around 50%) will survive for 5 years or more.

Stage 3

Around 40 out of every 100 women with stage 3 vulval cancer (around 40%) will survive for 5 years or more after diagnosis.

Stage 4

The Office for National Statistics doesn't provide 5 year survival statistics for vulval cancer. The following statistics are for 1 year survival for people with stage 4 vulval cancer.

Please remember, this doesn't mean you will only live 1 year. It relates to the number of people who are still alive 1 year after their diagnosis of cancer. Some of these people will live much longer than 1 year.

More than 40 out of 100 people with stage 4 vulval cancer (more than 40%) will survive their cancer for 1 year or more after their diagnosis.

Survival for all stages

Generally, for women with vulval cancer in England:

  • around 85 out of 100 women (around 85%) will survive their cancer for 1 year or more after diagnosis
  • more than 65 out of 100 women (more than 65%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis

What affects survival

Your outcome depends on different factors including your age. Studies have shown that women diagnosed with vulval cancer at a younger age, have a better outcome than those diagnosed later.

Other factors include:

  • the stage of the cancer when it was diagnosed. This means how big it is and whether it has spread.
  • the type of vulval cancer you have
  • how abnormal the cancer cells look under the microscope. This is the grade of the cancer.

More detailed statistics

For more in-depth information about survival and vulval cancer, go to our Cancer Statistics section.

Last reviewed: 
16 Nov 2022
Next review due: 
16 Nov 2022
  • Cancer survival by stage at diagnosis for England, 2019
    Office for National Statistics

  • Management of malignant vulval melanoma: a retrospective case series and review of the literature
    S Platt and others
    Journal of lower genital tract disease, 2020. Vol 24, Issue 3. Pages 272-276

  • Prognostic factors of recurrence and survival in vulvar melanoma: Subgroup analysis of the vulvar cancer study
    S Iacoponi and others
    International Journal of Gynaecological Cancer, 2016. Vol 26, Issue 7. Pages 1307-1312

  • Cancer of the vulva: 2021 update (FIGO cancer report 2021)
    A Olawaiye, M Cuello and L Rogers

    International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 2021. Vol 155, Issue S1. Pages 7-18

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