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 physica1 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.