Vulvar Cancer

What Is Vulvar Cancer ?

The vulva is a woman’s external genitalia. It is made up of the skin and fatty tissue that surround the clitoris and the openings of the vagina and urethra. Vulvar cancer begins when healthy cells in the vulva change and grow out of control. The most common type of vulvar cancer is squamous cell carcinoma. Other, less common vulvar cancer include adenocarcinoma, Myeloma, sarcoma, and verrucous carcinoma.

Risk Factors For Vulvar Cancer

  • Age: Most women diagnosed with Vulvar Cancer are older than 50.
  • Human papillomavirus(HPV) infection
  • Smoking
  • Immune system deficiency like HIV infection, AIDS.
  • Lichen sclerosus: This is a condition that affects the Vulvar skin, making it thin and itchy. About 4% of women with lichen sclerosus develop Vulvar Cancer.

Can Vulvar Cancer Be Prevented ?

The risk of vulvar cancer can be lowered by avoiding certain risk factors and by having pre-cancerous conditions treated before an invasive cancer develops.

  • Avoid HPV infection
  • Use of Condoms would provide some protection against HPV.
  • HPV Vaccination
  • Don’t smoke
  • Get regular pelvic checkups

Treatment For Vulvar Intraepithelial Neoplasia (VIN)

VIN is a precancerous condition, the treatment for which involves a simple surgical removal of the disease to test for adjacent cancer and to prevent the progression to cancer. The treatment plan may also include laser surgery and/or medication(s) applied to the vulva area. One more treatment option for Vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN) is Topical therapy means the drug is a cream or ointment put right onto the cancer. One choice is to apply the chemotherapy drug, fluorouracil (5-FU), directly to the skin of the vulva. This is called topical chemotherapy

Treatment For Invasive Vulvar Cancer

Based on the extent and stage of the disease the following treatment options might be considered. Usually, the main treatment for Invasive vulvar cancer is surgery. Chemoradiation therapy is used for advanced-stage vulvar cancer: For a very large Vulvar tumor, radiation therapy is often combined with low-dose chemotherapy to shrink the tumorbefore surgery.

Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy may be used before surgery to shrink the size of the tumor or after surgery to destroy any remaining cancer cells.

For metastatic vulvar cancer, patients are most often treated with systemic chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells, usually by keeping the cancer cells from growing, dividing, and making more cells.

Note:

People with vulvar cancer may have concerns about sexual health and having children. If or how their treatment may affect their sexual health and fertility.

You can discuss this in detail with your doctor to know more about fertility preservation options, what best treatment option is applicable in your case