Vulvar Cancer

Vulvar cancer or cancer of the external genitalia in women is uncommon.  This disorder is usually seen in women over 50 years of age in the labia majora.  The disease spreads locally or through the lymph nodes.  Itching, burning, pain in the genitalia, and whitened or rough skin is a sign of vulvar cancer.  Surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy are the main treatments.

Signs & Symptoms

Patients suffering from vulvar cancer don’t necessary display all of the symptoms at first. However, if you notice any of these symptoms, see your doctor immediately for an exam:

  • A lump in the vulva
  • Vulvar itching or tenderness
  • Bleeding when not on your period
  • Changes in the vulvar skin, such as color changes or growths that resemble a wart or ulcer

You are at greater for the disease if you’ve had a human papillomavirus infection or have a history of genital warts. The disease can be diagnosed fairly easily with a physical examination and a biopsy. After the biopsy, and after your provider has had an opportunity to evaluate how advanced the cancer is, your oncologist will recommend a treatment plan. Treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or biologic therapy. To learn more about treatment options, talk with your provider and click here.

The gynecologic oncology department at Physicians East provides compassionate cancer care during what can be a very trying time. With the right treatment, and if caught before it has a chance to spread, the 5-year survival rate is quite high. Knowing your risk factors, watching for any abnormalities and making sure you schedule regular exams, are key to the early detection of the disease.