Squamous cell carcinoma of the vulva: a comparison between women 35 years or younger and 90 years or older.
OBJECTIVE To characterize the incidence of vulvar carcinoma in situ and vulvar cancer over time. METHODS We used the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results database to assess trends in the incidence of vulvar cancer over a 28-year period (1973 through 2000) and determined whether there had been a change in incidence over time. Information collected included patient characteristics, primary tumor site, tumor grade, and follow-up for vital status. We calculated the incidence rates by decade of age, used chi(2) tests to compare demographic characteristics, and tested for trends in incidence over time. RESULTS A total of 13,176 in situ and invasive vulvar carcinomas were identified; 57% of the women were diagnosed with in situ, 44% with invasive disease. Vulvar carcinoma in situ increased 411% from 1973 to 2000. Invasive vulvar cancer increased 20% during the same period. The incidence rates for in situ and invasive vulvar carcinomas are distributed differently across the age groups. In situ carcinoma incidence increases until the age of 40-49 years and then decreases, whereas invasive vulvar cancer risk increases as a woman ages, increasing more quickly after 50 years of age. CONCLUSION The incidence of in situ vulvar carcinoma is increasing. The incidence of invasive vulvar cancer is also increasing but at a much lower rate.