What types of surgery treat vulvar cancer?

Surgical procedures for vulvar cancer treatment include:
  • Laser surgery: A focused beam of energy destroys the layer of skin containing precancerous cells (vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia).
  • Traditional surgery: Surgery is a common treatment for cancerous neoplasia and invasive cancers. The type and extent of surgery depends on the type and stage of your cancer. For more advanced or invasive cancers, reproductive organs or lymph nodes may be removed. In the most extensive cases, skin grafts or reconstructive surgery may be performed after cancer surgery is completed.
  • Excision: Wide local excision uses a scalpel to remove the cancer and a "margin" of healthy tissue around it.
  • Vulvectomy: Part or all of the vulva is surgically removed. A skinning vulvectomy removes the complete top layer of skin. A simple vulvectomy removes the entire vulva. A partial vulvectomy removes part of the vulva and some deep tissue. A complete or radical vulvectomy removes the entire vulva, clitoris and deep tissues.
  • Lymph node dissection: Lymph nodes, which are part of the immune system, may be removed from the groin on one or both sides of the vulva if they contain cancer.
  • Pelvic exenteration: Very rarely, more extensive surgery may be necessary. This may include removing the vulva and lymph nodes plus the bladder, rectum, part of the colon, uterus, vagina and/or cervix. Additional surgery may be performed to provide substitutes for some organs that may have been removed.

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.

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.