Canadian Cancer Society logo

Vaginal cancer

You are here: 

Prognosis and survival for vaginal cancer

Women with vaginal cancer may have questions about their prognosis and survival. Prognosis and survival depend on many factors. Only a doctor familiar with a person’s medical history, type of cancer, stage, characteristics of the cancer, treatments chosen and response to treatment can put all of this information together with survival statistics to arrive at a prognosis.

A prognosis is the doctor’s best estimate of how cancer will affect a person, and how it will respond to treatment. A prognostic factor is an aspect of the cancer or a characteristic of the person that the doctor will consider when making a prognosis. A predictive factor influences how a cancer will respond to a certain treatment. Prognostic and predictive factors are often discussed together, and they both play a part in deciding on a treatment plan and a prognosis.

The following are prognostic and predictive factors for vaginal cancer.


The most significant prognostic factor for vaginal cancer is the stage of the disease. The earlier the stage, the more favourable the prognosis.


Grade (histologic differentiation) has been shown to be an independent, important predictor of survival. The lower the grade, the more favourable the prognosis.

Type of tumour

The type of vaginal tumour is an important prognostic factor. Squamous cell carcinoma has a more favourable prognosis than other tumour types, such as vaginal melanoma and adenocarcinoma. Clear cell carcinoma appears to be associated with a better prognosis than other adenocarcinomas.

Tumour size

Vaginal tumours less than 3 cm in diameter have a more favourable prognosis.

Tumour invasion

The degree of tumour invasion into the wall of the vagina is an important prognostic factor for vaginal cancer. Tumour invasion less than 3 mm indicates a more favourable prognosis.

Border shape

The shape of the tumour’s border is a prognostic factor for vaginal sarcoma. A tumour with a pushing border (growing outward) has a more favourable prognosis than a tumour with an infiltrativeinfiltrativeReferring to a disease (such as cancer) that is growing into surrounding tissue or has spread outside the tissue where it started. border.


Holly Benson Thanks to good research, thanks to funding for research, I’m here and enjoying my life.

Read Holly's story

Volunteers provide comfort and kindness

Illustration of volunteers

Thousands of Canadian Cancer Society volunteers work in regional cancer centres, lodges and community hospitals to support people receiving treatment.

Learn more