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Vulvar cancer


Vulvar cancer affects the vulva of the female genitalia. The vulva is an encompassing term that includes the structures of the outside female genitalia: labia majora, labia minora, clitoris, mons pubis, urinary meatus, and opening to vaginal canal. 


History of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection, smoking, history of precancerous lesions on the vulvar or cervix, chronic vulvar itching or burning**

**These are risk factors and does not mean if you have these things you will get cancer nor does it mean if you don’t have these things that you are unable to get vulvar cancer. Please consult with your medical provider to see if you need more frequent exams.


Symptoms may include:

  • unexplained vulvar itching/burning/bleeding 

  • new vulvar lesion/mass​
  • changes in vulvar skin that won’t go away

  • sores, ulcers, bumps that won't go away

  • unexplained pelvic pain


There are no specific screening tests for early detection of vulvar cancer. Self-vulvar exams and at least yearly vulvar exams with your medical provider is recommended***. 


***Frequency of vulvar exams with a medical provider is dependent on your level of risk. Please speak to your medical provider to discuss how frequently you should have a vulvar exam. 


Treatment for vulvar cancer will depend on the type of vulvar cancer, if there are any other areas that are involved or if the cancer has spread, and how early the cancer is being caught. Treatment can include prescribed topical cream, surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation. 


The most efficient way to reduce your risk is to receive the HPV vaccine. The HPV vaccine is recommended for males and females from age 9-26. There are some exceptions that allow for vaccination up to age 45.  Also quitting smoking can reduce your risk. 

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