Vulvar Cancer

The vulva consists of those portions of the female genital tract that are externally visible in the perineal region. It is the outer part of a woman’s vagina and looks much like a pair of lips. Cancer of the vulva is a rare disease in which cancer cells are found in the vulva.

Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Constant itching
  • Bleeding or discharge not related to menstruation
  • Severe burning, itching or pain
  • Skin of the vulva looks white and feels rough
  • Lesion that will not heal
  • Lump or mass
How is vulvar cancer treated?

Treatment for cancer of the vulva depends on the stage of the disease, type of disease, and age and overall condition of the patient. Surgery is the most common treatment of cancer of the vulva. The doctor may take out the cancer using one of the following operations:

  • Wide local excision takes out the cancer and some of the normal tissue around the cancer.
  • Laser surgery uses a narrow beam of light to remove cancer cells in preinvasive disease.
  • Simple vulvectomy takes out the entire vulva, but no lymph nodes.
  • Partial vulvectomy takes out less than the entire vulva.
  • Radical vulvectomy takes out the entire vulva, as well as lymph node around it.

Depending on the stage of the disease, radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy may be used in combination with surgery.


The overall prognosis for cancer of the vulva is good, primarily because most patients now present with relatively early disease.