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Vulvar Cancer: Causes, Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

What is Vulvar Cancer?

Vulvar cancer can occur on any part of the external organs however most frequently affects the labium or labia minora. Cancer of the female genital organ may be a rare disease, accounting for 0.6 p.c of all cancers in women, and it's going to type slowly over several years. Most vulvar cancers are epithelial cell carcinomas.

The vulva is the skin and adipose tissue between the higher thighs of women. It extends from the world of the arse to regarding an in. below the bone hairline. Cancer of the vulva most often affects the 2 skin folds (or lips) round the vagina, known as the labia.


vulval willcer isn't terribly common. However, it's very serious as a result of it being cancer. It can have an effect on a woman’s sexual functioning. It can build sex painful and difficult. If found early, vulvar cancer encompasses a high cure rate and also the treatment choices involve less surgery.

Vulvar cancer is a rare type of cancer that forms in the tissues of the vulva.

The vulva is a part of a woman's external genitalia. It includes the area around the opening of her vagina.

  • The inner and outer lips of the vagina.

  • The clitoris is a sexually sensitive area located between the lips.

  • The opening at the front of the vagina (the canal through which childbirth, sex, and menstruation occur) will gradually open over time.

  • Mons pubis is the area in front of your pubic bones that becomes covered with hair as you get older.

  • Peeing happens when the urinary opening (where pee exits your body) is opened.

  • The perineum is the area between the vagina and the anus.

Vulvar cancer most often occurs on the inner or outer vaginal lips, but it can also develop in any location on the vulva.

Vulvar cancer usually develops slowly over several years. Precancerous lesions are often first noticed as abnormal growth in the outermost layer of skin. These precancerous lesions are called vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN).

 

What is Vulvar Cancer

 

Explanation of medical terms and concept Vulvar Cancer

Vulvar cancer is a type of cancer that occurs on the outer surface  of the female genitalia. The vulva is the area of ​​skin that surrounds the urethra and vagina, including the clitoris and labia.

Vulvar cancer often forms as a lump or sore on the vulva that is often itchy. Although it can occur at any age, vulvar cancer is most commonly diagnosed in older adults.

Treatment for vulvar cancer  usually involves surgery to remove the cancer and a small amount of surrounding healthy tissue.Sometimes vulvar cancer surgery requires  the entire vulva to be removed. The earlier vulvar cancer is diagnosed, the less likely it will require extensive surgery to treat it.


symptoms Symptoms of vulvar cancer include a persistent itchy sensation bleeding and pain during urination discharge from the vagina or bleeding with intercourse The discomfort may appear as soreness or burning in the skin around the genitals that is not relieved by over-the-counter medications Both women and men should pay attention to these symptoms If you are experiencing any of these signs consult your doctor right away Early detection can lead to successful treatment for vulvar cancer.

Vulvar cancer is a rare cancerous tumor that occurs in the vulva which is the external female genitalia The vulva consists of the labia majora (outer lips) labia minora (inner lips) clitoris and opening to the vagina Cancer occurring in other parts of the body can spread to the vulvar region but it does not happen often It is more common for cells from vulvar cancers to spread within the vulvar region than it is for these cancers to spread elsewhere.

Types of vulvar cancer

The type of cell within which female genitalia cancer begins helps your doctor arrange the foremost effective treatment. the foremost common sorts of vulvar cancer include:

  • Vulvar squamous cell carcinoma. This cancer begins in the thin, flat cells that line the surface of the vulva. Most vulvar cancers are squamous cell carcinomas.

  • Vulvar melanoma. This cancer begins in the pigment-producing cells found in the skin of the vulva.

When to see a doctor

Make a meeting together with your medical aid doctor or woman's doctor if you experience any persistent symptoms that worry you.


Who gets vulvar cancer?

Your chance of getting vulvar cancer is increased if you have certain risk factors.

  • Have vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN). This is a cancer of the vagina that can occur.

  • You could have an HPV infection.

  • Have a history of genital warts.

  • Have a skin condition involving the vulva, such as lichen sclerosus.

  • Are older.

There are other possible risk factors, including the following:

  • Having many sexual partners.

  • Having a history of abnormal Pap tests means you are more likely to develop cervical cancer.

  • Having a medical condition that weakens your immune system means you are more likely to get sick.

  • Being a smoker.

Vulvar cancer is most commonly diagnosed in women aged 65 to 74. However, vulvar cancer is becoming more common in younger women.

How common is vulvar cancer?

Vulvar cancer is a rare type of cancer. It ranks 28th in terms of most common cancers, and there are about 6000 new cases each year in the United States.

What are the different types of vulvar cancer?

Vulvar cancers are mostly squamous cell carcinomas, which develop on the surface of the vulva. About 5% of vulvar cancers are melanomas, which develop rapidly and have a high risk of spreading to other areas of the body. Younger women are more likely to have melanoma than older women. There are other rare types of vulvar cancer that account for 5% of all cases.

Symptoms and Causes

What are the signs and symptoms of vulvar cancer?

Signs and symptoms of vulvar cancer may include:

  • Itching that doesn't go away

  • Pain and tenderness

  • Bleeding that isn't from menstruation

  • Skin changes, such as color changes or thickening

  • A lump, wart like bumps or an open sore (ulcer)

It may be difficult to notice the signs of vulvar cancer in its early stages.

If you have one or more of the following symptoms, see your healthcare provider for an exam.

  • Changes in the skin color of the vulva (more red or white than usual).

  • If your daughter has a growth or lump in her vulva that looks like a wart or ulcer, or if she has a rash or other sore that doesn't heal, she may have HPV.

  • My second grader asked me what this passage means: I have an itchy or burning area in my vulva that doesn't go away.

  • Bleeding in the vagina that is not related to periods (the menstrual cycle).

  • Tenderness in the vulvar area.

  • Pelvic pain while having sex or peeing.

What causes vulvar cancer?

It's not clear what causes vulvar cancer.

In general, doctors understand that cancer begins once a cell develops changes (mutations) in its polymer. The DNA contains the directions that tell a cell what to do. The mutations tell the cell to grow and divide rapidly. The cell and its offspring prolong living when different traditional cells would die. The accumulating cells type a growth which will be cancerous, invasive close tissue and spreading to other components of the body.

Vulvar squamous cell cancer can be caused by either human papillomavirus or a chronic skin condition called lichen sclerosus.

Diagnosis Vulvar Cancer

How is vulvar cancer diagnosed?

After being diagnosed with vulvar cancer, you may feel disbelief, sadness, shock, and fear. It can be helpful to talk to family and friends about how you are feeling.


What is Vulvar Cancer


The days and weeks after being diagnosed with vulvar cancer can be very stressful and you may feel like things are going too fast or too slow. Ask your specialist to explain the available treatment options, the time frame and possible side effects. You may wish to bring a family member or friend  to your appointment.Take as much time as possible to make informed decisions.

Your healthcare provider will ask about your health, including any illnesses or medical conditions you may have currently or in the past. You'll also get a physical exam to check your general health. Other exams and tests may include:

Vulva and pelvic exam

Your provider will check for signs of disease on your vulva. They might take a tissue sample to look for signs of cancer.

Your healthcare provider will insert one or two gloved fingers into your vagina and feel for any lumps or anything unusual. The provider will also examine your vagina and cervix with their hand. A Pap smear is a test that is usually done. Cells from the Pap smear may be checked for HPV. Another test, a manual rectal exam, will also be performed in order to feel for any unusual lumps or bumps. If there are any abnormalities on the inside of the vagina or anus, they may be biopsied as well.

Colposcopy exam

A colposcope is a lighted magnifying instrument that is used to see the vulva and cervix more clearly. During a pelvic exam, it may be used to see the tissue in more detail. Sometimes, when using a colposcope, a diluted acetic acid solution or a brown-colored dye is used. To see abnormal cells on a biopsy or tissue sample, paint them with a substance to make them visible. Biopsies or samples may be taken from any areas that look abnormal - to check for cancer.

What tests may be done to determine whether vulvar cancer has spread?

If cancer is detected, you will have other tests to determine if the cancer has spread to other parts of your body. These tests may include:

Other internal scope exams

Additional exams may be ordered, including those that are internal to the school.

  • Bladder and urethra exam:A cystoscope (a lighted tube with a camera) will be inserted into your urethra to look for anything abnormal in your urinary tract and bladder, and to take tissue samples if abnormalities are found.

  • A rectum and anus exam is when someone looks inside your rectum and anus to check for problems.A proctoscope (a lighted tube with a viewing lens) will be inserted into your rectum to look for anything abnormal and collect tissue samples if something abnormal is found.

X-rays and scans

  • X-rays:X-rays can help show if cancer has spread to organs and bones inside the chest and pelvic area.

  • Intravenous pyelogram (IVP):This test uses a contrast dye to look for blockages in your kidneys, ureters, or bladder.

  • CT scan (CAT scan) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging):CT and MRI scans take detailed pictures of the inside of your body. A contrast dye can be used to help see organs and tissues more clearly. MRI scans use a magnet and radio waves to create pictures.

  • A PET scan is a type of medical test that uses radioactive particles to create images of the body.:This scan makes pictures of the inside of your body after a glucose injection has been given into a vein.Cancerous cells show up easily in pictures because they collect glucose.

Lymph node biopsy

  • Sentinel lymph node biopsy:  This is a procedure that removes the first few lymph nodes near a tumor in hopes of detecting cancer cells. If cancer is found, this means the cancer has likely spread and more surgery may be necessary. Some lymph nodes may not be needed.

What is the difference between early-stage, intermediate-stage, and advanced-stage vulvar cancer?

Yes, when a woman is diagnosed with vulvar cancer it is classified by its stage. There are four main stages: 1. Early-stage cancer has not spread beyond the vulva. 2. Intermediate-stage cancer has spread to nearby tissues but has not invaded distant parts of the body. 3. Late-stage cancer has spread to distant parts of the body or to another organ. 4. Terminal-stage cancer has spread to all parts of the body and

  • Stage I:  Cancer is only present on the vulva or perineum at this stage. Stage I is divided into stages IA and IB based on the size of the tumor and how far it has spread into tissue. Sketch with a pencil.]

  • Stage II: At this stage, the tumor has spread into the lower part of the urinary tract, the lower part of the vagina, or the anus. Cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes.

  • Stage III: In this stage, the cancer has spread to one or more nearby lymph nodes. Stage III is further divided into stages IIIA IIIB and IIIC based on the number and size of the lymph nodes involved.

  • Stage IV: At this stage, the cancer has spread to different parts of the body. Stages IVA and IVB are based on whether the spread is localized near the vulva or spread farther away.

If you have been diagnosed with a certain stage of cancer, ask your healthcare provider what that stage means and what to expect.

Treatment Vulvar Cancer

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 of your surgical options  and the pros and cons of each option. Even after surgery, some people may also need radiation therapy.


When vulvar cancer is detected and treated early, the cure rate is over 90%.The key to a cure is reporting any early warning signs to  your doctor  and getting a biopsy done right away. After treatment, keep all follow-up appointments recommended by your doctor.

There are four types of cancer treatment for the vulva. Factors that will help guide your healthcare provider's choice include: your age, overall health, and other medical conditions you may have.

  • The stage of your cancer.

  • Your age and general health.

  • This means that cancer has re-occurred or been diagnosed recently.

Your healthcare provider will discuss the best treatment options and prescribe the appropriate course of action for your stage of vulvar cancer.

Cancer treatments for vulvar cancer include the following:

Surgery

Cancer of the vulva is the most common type of cancer treated with surgery. The goal of surgery is to remove all of the cancer without causing any loss in sexual function. There are different types of surgery that include:

  • Laser surgery:This surgery uses a laser to make thin cuts or remove cancerous lesions on the surface.

  • Local excision:This surgery removes the cancer and a small amount of surrounding normal tissue. Sometimes nearby lymph nodes are removed.

  • Vulvectomy:This surgery removes part or all of the vulva. If skin grafts are necessary, they may be used to replace the removed skin.

  • Pelvic exenteration:This surgery removes your lower colon, bladder, cervix, vagina, and nearby lymph nodes. A new opening is created in your body to allow urine and stool to flow out of you.

After surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy may be recommended to kill any remaining cancer cells. Sometimes these treatments are recommended before or instead of surgery.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy is used to kill cancer cells by using high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation. External radiation therapy uses a machine to deliver radiation to the targeted cancer site. Internal radiation therapy uses radioactive material inserted into needles, seeds, wires, or catheters. Radiation therapy is given to the cancerous area directly or nearby. The type of radiation therapy delivery method depends on the type and stage of the cancer.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a cancer-killing medication. When taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle, it can attack cancers throughout your body. When chemotherapy is placed directly into the spinal column (in an organ or body cavity), or applied directly to the skin, it is most effective. Chemotherapy is used to attack cancer more locally. This means that the type of chemotherapy given depends on the stage and type of cancer.

Biologic therapy

Biological therapy is a type of treatment that uses substances created in a laboratory or substances found in your body to help your body's immune system or fight cancer. Aldara Zyclara cream (an example of a biologic therapy) is used to treat precancerous vulvar lesions.

Can any medications be used to treat vulvar cancer?

Yes, Blenoxane® (a bleomycin sulfate drug) is approved to treat squamous cell carcinoma (cancer) of the cervix and vulva. It's not a common treatment for vulvar cancer, but many medications used today are considered "off-label" and have been studied extensively. These medications are for this purpose. They include:

  • Cisplatin.

  • Carboplatin.

  • Paclitaxel (Abraxane®).

  • Bevacizumab (Avastin®) is a drug used to treat cancer.

  • Navelbine is a chemotherapy drug.

  • Erlotinib (Tarceva®).

  • Gemcitabine (Gemzar®).

  • Pembrolizumab (Keytruda®).

  • Nivolumab (Opdivo®).

  • Larotrectanib is a drug used to treat cancer.

  • Entrectinib (Rozlyn Trek®).

What should I do after undergoing vulvar cancer treatment?

Some of the tests that were done to diagnose vulvar cancer or determine the stage may be repeated. This is so that we can see how well treatment is working and if changes are needed.

You will continue to be checked for the progress of your condition after treatment has ended. Make sure to keep all of your check-up appointments and medical appointments.

Prevention

How can vulvar cancer be prevented?

There are vaccines available to prevent HPV which can cause cervical cancer. Ask your healthcare provider about these vaccines:

  • The Gardasil quadrivalent vaccine (Gardasil®) is approved for individuals aged nine to 26 years.

  • The recombinant HPV nonavalent vaccine (Gardasil 9®) is approved for adults through 26 years of age. It may be given to adults who are 45 years or older if they have been vaccinated against HPV in the past and there is a risk of getting new HPV infections.

There is no specific screening test for vulvar cancer, but knowing the symptoms and seeing your healthcare provider as soon as possible can help reduce your risk. A physical exam should be done at least annually for your overall health.

Outlook / Prognosis

What is the survival rate for women who are diagnosed with vulvar cancer?

Women with vulvar cancer have a 71% chance of surviving for five years. The survival rate is higher for women who have early stage disease (over 90% for stage I) than for those with late stage disease (15% for stage IV).

This is a note from the Cleveland Clinic.

If cancer is detected and treated early, the chances of a positive long-term outcome are better. You play a large role in your own health. Know your body well--including your genital area--so you can easily identify changes. This knowledge will help you take care of yourself. If you notice any changes, be sure to see your healthcare provider.

Preparing for your appointment

Your initial appointment can sometimes be with either your medical care doctor or a medical specialist. If your doctor or gynecologist suspects or diagnoses cancer, you'll doubtless be said to be a medical specialist who focuses on surgery for gynecologic cancers. As a result, appointments will be brief, and it can be troublesome to recollect everything you would like to discuss. It's a decent plan to be prepared. Here are some suggestions for preparing, and what you'll expect from your doctor.

What you can do

  • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions, such as restricting your diet before your appointment.

  • Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.

  • Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.

  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you're taking.

  • Ask a relative or friend to accompany you, to help you remember what the doctor says.

  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Your time along with your doctor is limited, thus making an inventory of queries will assist you build the foremost of some time together. List your questions from most vital to least important just in case time runs out. For female genitals cancer, some basic inquiries to raise include:

  • What kinds of tests will I need?

  • Do I need to do anything to prepare for these tests?

  • Other than vulvar cancer, are there any other possible causes for these symptoms?

  • What type of vulvar cancer do I have?

  • What stage is my cancer?

  • What types of surgical options are available to me?

  • What kind of success rates does each type of surgery have?

  • What are the drawbacks to each type of surgery?

  • Will I need to wear an ostomy bag?

  • What about radiation or chemotherapy? Are those options available to me?

  • What kind of success rates do those therapies have?

  • What types of side effects does each treatment have?

  • How will these treatments affect my sexuality?

  • Will I be able to have children after treatment?

  • How should I prepare for treatment?

  • Which course of action do you recommend?

  • What are the odds of recurrence?

  • What is my prognosis?

In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask other questions that occur to you.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor will likely have a number of questions for you. Some questions your doctor might ask include:

  • When did you first notice these symptoms?

  • How often do you experience these symptoms?

  • How severe are your symptoms?

  • Does anything improve your symptoms?

  • Does anything make your symptoms worse?

  • Have you ever been diagnosed with lichen sclerosus?

  • Have you ever had an abnormal Pap test?

  • Have you ever been diagnosed with HPV?

General summary

Although vulvar cancer is rare it can often be prevented by regularly performing routine self-examinations of the vagina and vulva and having a health care provider examine these areas at least annually If found early vulvar cancer is highly curable and treatment options range from surgery to chemotherapy to radiation therapy.

What is the standard treatment for patients with vulvar cancer?

Vulvar cancer is a rare condition Since patients with vulvar cancer often undergo witch hazel treatment the most common form of treatment is complete surgical removal of their vulva However in some instances radiation therapy or chemotherapy may be used to treat this type of cancer as well.

How quickly does vulvar cancer grow?

Vulvar cancer is a rare and aggressive form of cancer that attacks the vulva or the external female genitals Cancer can spread to other parts of the body quickly when left untreated so it's important to have regular exams and to know your family health history It’s also key to be aware of any changes in the vagina or vulva area so you can act quickly if you notice anything unusual In general though there are no early signs or symptoms that indicate vulvar cancer is present; these become apparent once the disease has progressed into its later stages.

How do they remove vulvar cancer?

Vulvar cancer can be treated through a wide range of surgical and nonsurgical procedures depending on the stage of the cancer According to the American Cancer Society most vulvar cancers are treated with surgery often followed by radiation or chemotherapy If you've been diagnosed with vulvar cancer talk with your health care team about treatment options during a follow-up appointment Your doctor may recommend additional tests or procedures before making a final recommendation for care.

How long does it take to recover from vulvar surgery?

Recovery time varies depending on the type of surgery you have but most women can expect to be out of work for at least a week Most postoperative care is done in the home Only go to the doctor if you notice any worrying signs such as redness and swelling that do not go away after a few hours It will take one to two weeks before you are able to resume light exercise like swimming or walking.

How long is recovery after vulvar surgery?

Most women are able to resume normal activities within a few days of vulvar surgery You may be tired at first but it is important to walk around and gently stretch your legs as soon as possible after surgery After the surgical wounds heal most women can return to work in 3 or 4 weeks and resume sexual activity after about 6 weeks.

Why would someone get a vulvectomy?

A vulvectomy is often the last resort for treating a cancerous or precancerous condition of the vagina It involves removing the affected portion of the tissue and involves taking out either some or all of the clitoris labia minora and/or labia majora A few examples include: - Squamous cell carcinoma -- This type of common skin cancer begins in squamous cells which are found on outer skin layer When this happens it may spread to other tissues near and surrounding the area where it originated called metastasis Metastasis can cause tumors to grow in organs like lymph nodes lungs and.

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Vulvar Cancer: Causes, Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

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