Prognosis of Vaginal Cancer

By  , Expert Content
Jan 11, 2012

When diagnosed with vaginal cancer, it is natural for the woman to be anxious about the prognosis or outcome. Prognosis of vaginal cancer lets the patient understand about his or her chance of recovery or recurrence (return of the cancer). An idea about the outcome and the possible course of disease helps 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 vaginal cancer is influenced by factors such as:

  • Stage of the cancer (the extent of involvement of the vagina and spread to other parts of the body).
  • Size of the tumour.
  • Type of cancer (squamous cell carcinoma or adenocarcinoma).
  • Grade of tumour cells (how abnormal or malignant the cancer cells are and how quickly the cells grow and spread).
  • If the location of cancer is within the vagina.
  • If the cancer is with or without symptoms.
  • Patient factors such as age, general health and response to treatment.
  • Whether it is diagnosed for the first time or has recurred (come back).

While informing you about the prognosis, your doctor bases the information on facts obtained through studies done over many years in hundreds or even thousands of women with vaginal 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 unfavourable or poor if the cancer is in the advanced stages and will therefore be difficult to control.

Prognosis and stage: The 5 year survival rate of vaginal cancer is influenced by the stage of the cancer. Survival rates of a cancer indicate 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 still alive five years after diagnosis (factors such as signs or symptoms of cancer, presence or absence of disease or treatment are not considered).

Based on each stage, the five-year survival rate of vaginal cancer is as follows:



Survival Rate





III and IV



Prognosis is usually better for younger women (less than 60 years when they are diagnosed) and women who do not have symptoms (as the cancer is more likely to be early stages). Based on the stage of the disease, your doctor will recommend treatment after discussing the options with you. Remember that while discussing the prognosis, the doctor predicts the possible course of the disease, which may not be absolutely correct in your case. As every patient is different, your doctor cannot be absolutely accurate about the outcome.



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