Cancer – vulva

Alternative Names

Cancer – perineum

Definition of Cancer – vulva

Vulvar cancer is cancer that starts in the vulva. Vulvar cancer most often affects the labia, the folds of skin outside the vagina. In some cases, vulvar cancer may start on the clitoris or in glands on the sides of the vagina opening.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Most vulvar cancers begin in skin cells called squamous cells. Other vulvar cancers are:

Symptoms

Women with this condition will often have itching around the vagina for years. They may have used different skin creams. They may also have bleeding.

Signs and tests

The following tests are used to diagnose vulvar cancer:

Treatment

Imiquimod 5% cream may be used to treat vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN).

Expectations (prognosis)

Most women with vulvar cancer who are diagnosed and treated at an early stage do well. However, a woman’s outcome depends on:

Review

Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; and Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 1/31/2010

Female perineal anatomy

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

Article written by

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability.