The vulva is the external portion of the female genital organs. Vulvar cancer is a rare malignancy that can occur on any part of the vulva, but most often in the labia majora or labia minora.
Nearly 90 percent of vulvar cancers are squamous cell carcinomas. Melanoma is the second most common type of vulvar cancer, usually found in the labia minora or clitoris.
The most common symptoms of vulvar cancer include constant itching, bleeding or discharge not related to menstruation, and severe burning or pain.
Your treatment options depend on the type of vulvar cancer you have, the results of lab tests, and the stage of the cancer. You may need surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of these.
Side effects are common during cancer treatment. Your doctor or cancer nurse can suggest ways to ease any side effects that you experience.
You should have regular checkups to help spot certain gynecologic cancers. Your doctor examines the vulva during these checkups, which also include a pelvic exam and Pap test.
Learn more about vulvar cancer from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Physician Data Query (PDQ®) for patients. It includes information about prevention, screening, and treatment.