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Vulvar cancer forms in the tissues that make up the vulva — the outer part of the female genitals.
The vulva includes the:
Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection can increase the risk of developing vulvar cancer. Not everybody with HPV will develop vulvar cancer.
Early detection is important.
Pap smears may not detect HPV infection of the vulva, however, routine physical exams by a gynecologist can help detect any new, suspicious lesions.
The following represent the most common types of vulvar cancer.
Cancer that develops in the glands that exist near the vulva.
Certain factors may increase your risk of developing vulvar cancer, including:
Vulvar cancer may develop as a new mass on the vulva.
The mass may not cause any symptoms or it may:
A doctor may suspect vulvar cancer upon examination.
Symptoms of vulvar cancer may include:
Specialists at the Magee-Womens Gynecologic Cancer Program use a variety of tests to diagnose and screen for vulvar cancer, including:
If you're diagnosed with vulvar cancer, your treatment will depend on the following factors:
Your doctors and other specialists at the Magee-Womens Gynecologic Cancer Program will work with you to consider your options and determine a course of action.
Surgery is often the recommended treatment for vulvar cancer and may include:
We may also use radiation therapy following surgery to continue to shrink the tumor.
If surgery is not possible due to the size or location of your tumor, your doctor may recommend a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
As a patient of the Gynecologic Cancer Program, you have access to additional treatment options and services, including: