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:
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:
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.