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What is vulvar cancer?

Vulvar cancer is one of the least common gynecological cancers. It's generally caused by the HPV virus, the same virus that causes cervical cancer.

Vulvar cancer is a rare form of gynecological cancer. It forms in the outer area of the female genitals called the vulva. Most vulvar cancers are a type skin cancer that takes a long time to develop. Occasionally this type of cancer can begin as a melanoma. Identifying vulvar cancer early increases a woman's chances of a cure. So, having gynecologic exams on a regular basis is important.

Vulvar cancer is a rare type of cancer that occurs on the outer surface area of the female genitalia. It typically forms as a lump or sore on the vulva, often causing itching. Vulvar cancer is commonly diagnosed in older women. Signs of vulvar cancer may include:

  • Pain and tenderness
  • Bleeding that isn't from menstruation
  • Color changes, thickening or other skin changes
  • Itching that doesn't go away
  • A lump, open sore or wart-like bumps

As with other cancers, treatment options will depend on the type and stage of the cancer, the woman's overall health, and what she prefers to do. Options may include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.

This content originally appeared on HealthyWomen.org.

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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.