Cancer of the vulvar most often affects the two skin folds (or lips) around the vagina, known as the labia. The vulva is the skin and fatty tissue between the upper thighs of women. It extends from the area of the anus to about an inch below the pubic hairline.

Symptoms include:

  • Vulvar itching that lasts more than a few weeks
  • A cut or sore on the vulvar that won’t heal
  • A lump or mass on the vulvar
  • Vulvar pain
  • Bleeding from the vulvar (different from your usual menstrual bleeding)
  • Burning in the genital area that lasts even after your doctor has treated the burning
  • Any change in size, colour, or texture of a birthmark or mole in the vulvar area
  • Below we will explain how Vulvar Cancer is diagnosed and treatment options available to you.
  • HPV infections may increase your risk for developing vulvar cancer

How is Vulvar Cancer diagnosed?

A physical examination, including a pelvic exam, is the first step in diagnosing vulvar cancer.

In the examination, the doctor inspects the vulvar and then feels the uterus, vagina, ovaries, bladder, and rectum to check for any unusual changes. If your doctor finds an abnormal area on the vulvar, they may want to take a small piece of tissue to look at under a microscope.

In addition to a physical examination, the following tests may be used to diagnose vulvar cancer:

  • Biopsy
  • Colposcopy
  • Chest x-ray
  • Computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) or PET-CT scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Endoscopy

How is Vulvar Cancer treated?

Vulvar cancer is usually treated with surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of treatments.

The type of surgery depends on the size, depth and spread of the cancer. Your doctor will review all the options for surgery and the pros and cons of each option. Even with surgery, some people may also need radiation therapy.

There are 3 surgical options to treat vulvar cancer:

  • Radical wide local excision – the cancerous tissue from your vulvar is removed, as well as a margin of healthy tissue, usually at least 1cm wide, as a precaution
  • Radical partial vulvectomy – a larger section of your vulvar is removed, such as one or both of the labia, and possibly the clitoris
  • Radical vulvectomy – the whole vulvar is removed, including the inner and outer labia, and possibly the clitoris

After surgery for vulvar cancer, we will help you through enhanced recovery after surgery.

In some cases, your care team may decide to combine surgery with chemotherapy and radiation therapy. This will depend on many factors, including the location of your cancer, how aggressive it is, and whether it has spread to another part of the body.

To make an appointment with Mr Jafaru Abu simply contact the team at Burjeel Medical City Hospital and ask for an appointment with Mr Jafaru Abu. The team would be delighted to arrange an appointment for you.