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Prognosis of Vulvar Cancer

By  , Expert Content
Jan 11, 2012
4.8 / 5(4 Ratings)

Prognosis of cancer gives the patient knowledge about their chance of recovery or recurrence (return of the cancer) from the disease. Understanding the prognosis and the possible course of disease allows the patient and the family to handle the disease and live with it better. This also helps the patients and their loved ones to decide on the most appropriate treatment, the lifestyle changes and finances.


Prognosis of vulvar cancer like most other cancer/s is influenced by factors such as:

  • Type of the cancer (squamous cell cancer or adenocarcinoma).
  • Stage of cancer (the size of the tumour, extent of involvement of the organ and spread to other parts of the body).
  • Grade of tumor (how abnormal or malignant the cancer cells are and how quickly the cells grow and spread).
  • Patient factors such as age, general health and response to treatment.

When the doctor discusses the prognosis of vulvar cancer, the information is based on facts obtained through studies done over many years in hundreds or even thousands of people with this cancer. The prognosis is considered to be good or favourable if the cancer is in the early stages and is likely to respond well to treatment and the prognosis is believed to be unfavorable or poor if the cancer is in advanced stages and will most likely be difficult to control.


Stage of the cancer is a major factor, which decides the prognosis and 5 year survival rate of vulvar cancer. Survival rate of a cancer indicates the proportion of people with a certain type and stage of cancer that live for a specific period of time after their diagnosis. The five-year survival rate indicates the percentage of people with the disease who are alive five years after diagnosis (factors such as signs or symptoms of cancer, presence or absence of disease or treatment are not considered).


According to the latest FIGO (International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics) data, the 5 year survival rate based on the stage of diagnosis is as follows:

  • Stage I (Cancer localised to vulva and/or perineum and size is less than 2 cm) = 98%,
  • Stage II (Cancer localised to vulva and/or perineum and size is more than 2 cm) = 85%,
  • Stage III (Cancer extends beyond vulva to tissues such as the lower part of the urethra, the vagina, the anus and regional lymph nodes) = 74%.
  • Stage IV (cancer extends beyond nearby tissues and lymph nodes or to other parts of the body)= 31%

These are some facts on the prognosis of vulvar cancer, but your doctor after examination and tests can explain the prognosis better and discuss the treatment options. Remember, however, that prognosis is the only possible course and the doctor cannot be absolutely sure about the outcome.

 

 

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