Vulvar Cancer: Stages

Vulvar Cancer

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Vulvar Cancer Stages

Staging is a standard way of categorizing cancers that is used to determine prognosis and treatment. Your test results will be used to determine the stage of your cancer, which will guide the treatment recommendations your gynecologic oncologist will make. Sometimes the stage of your cancer is determined after definitive surgical management. The following are the stages of vulvar cancer:

  • Stage I: The cancer has formed but has not moved beyond the vulva or perineum (the area between the rectum and the vagina.)
    • Stage Ia: The cancer is 2 cm or smaller and has spread no more than 1 mm into the vulva’s tissue. The cancer has not reached the lymph nodes.
    • Stage Ib: The cancer is larger than 2 cm or has spread more than 1 mm into the vulva’s tissue. The cancer has not reached the lymph nodes.
  • Stage II: The cancer has reached the lower part of the urethra, the lower part of the vagina, or the anus. The cancer has not reached the lymph nodes.
  • Stage III: The cancer may have reached the lower part of the urethra, the lower part of the vagina, or the anus. Cancer has reached at least one lymph node.
    • Stage IIIa: Cancer has reached one or two lymph nodes, and the cancer found there is smaller than 5 mm or is larger than 5 mm but is still in just one lymph node.
    • Stage IIIb: Cancer has reached two or more lymh nodes and is 5 mm or larger, or has reached three or more lymph nodes but is not yet 5 mm.
    • Stage IIIc: Cancer has spread to not only the lymph nodes themselves, but to the outside surface of the lymph nodes.
  • Stage IV: The cancer has reached the upper part of the urethra, the upper part of the vagina, or other parts of the body.
    • Stage IVa: Cancer has reached the lining of the upper urethra, the upper vagina, the bladder, or the rectum, or has embedded in the pelvic bone, OR cancer has reached nearby lymph nodes and the lymph nodes cannot be moved or have formed an ulcer.
    • Stage IVb: Cancer has reached the lymph nodes of the pelvis or other parts of the body.

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