How does a doctor determine the stage of vulvar cancer?

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Your doctor will use a process called "staging" to determine how advanced your vulvar cancer is. The stage of your cancer will help your doctor know what type of treatment to recommend. To determine the stage, he or she will conduct some tests, which might include a biopsy (tissue sample), pelvic exam, x-rays, or a more detailed scan called a CT scan, or an MRI, which creates a 3-D scan of your body. Your vulvar cancer will fall into one of six different stages. In the first, the cancer has not spread past the skin, and in the last the cancer has spread to distant parts of the body.

Continue Learning about Vulvar Cancer

Vulvar Cancer

Vulvar cancer develops when abnormal cells grow on the surface of a womans external genitalia.Developing slowly over years, cancer of the vulva affects the inner and outer vaginal lips called the labia minora and labia majora, the ...

opening to the vagina called the vestibule and the clitoris. See your doctor if you notice an itchy or painful lump or sore on your genitalia. Like other gynecologic cancers, the human papillomavirus (HPV) puts you at higher risk of developing this disease. You also have increased risk if youre over the age of 50, have been infected with HIV or have been diagnosed with cervical cancer. A pelvic exam can detect vulvar cancer. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are commonly used to treat this cancer. Aggressive treatments may require removal of part or the entire vulva.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.