In general, cancers are divided into categories or stages, with the assignment with a stage based on the risk for recurrence. For vulvar cancer the final stage depends on the pathologic review of the surgical specimens from the vulva and regional lymph nodes.
Stage IA: These lesions do not require a regional lymph node evaluation because of the low risk of metastasis.
Stage 1B: These tumors have deeper invasion (great than 1mm), but the regional lymph nodes are negative. These patients remain in Stage 1 category since they have a no risk for recurrence.
Stage II: The tumors have a local extension to the urethra, anus or vagina with negative lymph nodes. These patients have a lower risk of recurrence than patients described as Stage III.
Stage III: This stage includes patients with lymph node metastases regardless of size, location or extension of the primary vulvar tumor. The presence and extent of lymph node involvement is the single most important factor in the determining the risk of recurrence.