What is vulvar cancer?

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Vulvar cancer is cancer that attacks the outside of the female reproductive system (vulva). This area includes the front of the vagina, the lips of the vagina (labia), the clitoris, and the skin and tissue that covers the pubic bone. Vulvar cancer often attacks the outside of the vaginal lips and rarely attacks the inner vaginal lips and clitoris. This cancer is relatively rare compared to other venereal cancers, such as ovarian cancer or uterine cancer.

How common is vulva cancer?
Vulvar cancer is a rare cancer. Less than 1% of all cancers in women, which are vulvar cancers, usually attack women at the age of more than 50 years.

Signs & Symptoms
What are the signs and symptoms of vulvar cancer?
Some of the common signs and symptoms of vulvar cancer are:

  • pain in the vulva area or pain during sexual intercourse or during urination
  • long lasting itching in the vulva area
  • the labia is thickened or there are lumps in the labia
  • vulvar skin changes, such as warts that grow on the vulva
  • blood or abnormal fluid outside the menstrual period

There may be some signs and symptoms not listed above. If you have a concern about a symptom, call your doctor immediately.

When should I see a doctor?
Usually vulvar cancer does not show initial symptoms. However, visit your doctor if you find:

  • bump on the vulva
  • vulvar itching or pain
  • bleeding not during menstruation
  • changes in the skin of the vulva such as discoloration