The vulva is the external part of female genitalia that includes:
The vaginal opening, that is likewise known as the birth canal; the vagina is part of the reproductive system and extends from the uterus to the outside of the body.
Labia majora and labia minora are the outer folds around the vaginal opening.
The main source for sensation during sexual arousal and activity is the clitoris.
Amid a vaginal examination, it is likewise possible to see the urethra, an opening that leads to the bladder, and the anus, the opening that leads to the colon.
Vulvar cancer is a type of cancer that happens in those external parts of the genitalia. Vulvar cancer is a lump or sore on the vulvar area that brings about itching that does not go away. This type of cancer can occur at any age, yet it is most commonly diagnosed in older people. This kind of cancer can be treated by removing the infected tissues as well as some healthy surrounding tissue. Sometimes, the surgery requires removing the entire vulva. Just like every cancer, the earlier it is diagnosed the less extensive the surgery would be.
Other symptoms include:
Vulvar skin alterations, for example: color changes or growths, sometimes with the appearance of an ulcer or wart.
Thickening of the skin around the vulva.
Bleeding that is not related to periods (menstruation).
Vulvar tenderness or high sensitivity.
An open sore on the vulva, particularly if it lasts for a month or more.
As you can see, some signs and indications that are indicative of vulvar cancer might be indications of conditions that are not cancer. By doing a biopsy, you can be sure if it is a vulvar cancer diagnosis. A small piece of tissue from that area is removed and analyzed under a microscope. A doctor that specializes in diagnosing diseases via laboratory tests (a pathologist) will examine the sample to determine whether or not if cancer or a pre-cancerous condition is present.
Risk factors for vulvar cancer include having human papilloma virus (HPV) infection, having a history of genital warts or herpes, having intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN). While having a risk factor of a disease grows one’s risk for infection, that is not a guarantee you will get cancer and neither does having no risk factors guarantee that you won’t get cancer. Talk with your doctor if you are worried about your risk.