Definition: Vulvar cancer can occur anywhere on a woman's external genitals. The most common location is the labia. The vast majority of vulvar cancer is squamous cell cancer. About 4% of vulvar cancer is melanoma, similar to melanoma on the skin elsewhere on the body. Approximately 4% of vulvar cancer is in glandular tissue, called adenocarcinoma. The most common adenocarcinoma in this area is that of the Bartholin's glands. Paget's disease has been called adenocarcinoma in situ. Very rarely, a tumor of the connective tissue under the vulva can form, called a sarcoma.
HPV is thought to be a factor in about half of vulvar cancers. Smoking increases the risk.
The most common symptoms of vulvar cancer and precancer (VIN) are itching and/or soreness, and a change in the tissue (often a change in color, to white or red/pink). Such symptoms can be caused by many other conditions, but should always be checked out by a doctor. Regular vulvar self-examinations are an excellent preventative, so that precancerous lesions can be treated before they become cancer.
Also Known As: cancer of the vulva
Common Misspellings: vulver cancer
Guide to Gyn Tumors
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