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Vulvar cancer is a rare type of cancer. It forms in a woman's external genitals, called the vulva. The cancer usually grows slowly over several years. First, precancerous cells grow on vulvar skin. This is called vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN), or dysplasia. Not all VIN cases turn into cancer, but it is best to treat it early.
Often, vulvar cancer doesn't cause symptoms at first. However, see your doctor for testing if you notice:
- A lump in the vulva
- Vulvar itching or tenderness
- Bleeding that is not your period
- Changes in the vulvar skin, such as color changes or growths that look like a wart or ulcer
You are at greater risk if you've had a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection or have a history of genital warts. Your health care provider diagnoses vulvar cancer with a physical exam and a biopsy. Treatment varies, depending on your overall health and how advanced the cancer is. It might include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or biologic therapy. Biologic therapy boosts your body's own ability to fight cancer.
NIH: National Cancer Institute
- General Information about Vulvar Cancer (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
- Vaginal and Vulvar Cancer (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) - PDF Also in Spanish
- Vulvar Cancer (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in Spanish
- Vulvar Cancer (American Society of Clinical Oncology)
- What Is Vulvar Cancer? (American Cancer Society)
- Living as a Vulvar Cancer Survivor (American Cancer Society)
- Fertility and Sexual Side Effects in People with Cancer (American Cancer Society) Also in Spanish
Statistics and Research
- Cancer Statistics: Vulvar Cancer (National Cancer Institute)
- Key Statistics for Vulvar Cancer (American Cancer Society)
- What's New in Vulvar Cancer Research and Treatment? (American Cancer Society)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Vulvar Neoplasms (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Identification of Predictive Factors for Post-operative Recurrence and Clinical Outcomes of...
- Article: Epidemiology of human papillomavirus-associated anogenital cancers in Granada: a three-decade population-based...
- Article: The Spectrum of HPV-independent Penile Intraepithelial Neoplasia: A Proposal for Subclassification.
- Vulvar Cancer -- see more articles