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Vulvar Cancer Symptoms

What is Vulvar Cancer ?

Vulvar cancer may be treated as a rare type of cancer which affects the external part of the female genitals organ called vagina. As it is a slowly growing cancer, it takes several years to show up the symptoms. Vulva is the external genital organ of a woman.

The human papillomavirus may lead to the development of vulvar cancer. Doing regular checkup will help a person to overcome this particular kind of gynecological cancer in its early stages.

3,580 new cases are reported out of vulvar cancer and 900 people have died out of this in United States in the year 2009.

Types of Vulvar Cancer

There are four types of vulvar cancers. They are:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Melanoma of the vulva
  • Adenocarcinomas
  • Paget’s Disease


Squamous cell carcinoma:
Squamous cell carcinoma contributes around 90 percent of the cases of vulvar cancers. It gets initiated in the squamous cells of the skin around the vagina.


Melanoma of the vulva:
Melanoma of the vulva contributes around 4 percent of the vulvar cancer cases which are reported. A pigment grows darkly around vagina.

Adenocarcinomas: The adenocarcinomas gradually develops in the sweat glands of the opening of the vagina where the mucus is produced.

Paget’s Disease: Redness, soreness and scaly area with adenocarcinomas cells are found around the vagina in this type of vulvar cancer.

Vulvar Cancer Symptoms

The primary symptoms of vulvar cancer are:

  • Burning sensation
  • Constant itchiness around the vagina
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding which is not related to menses
  • Small and red bumps around the area
  • Open sores which are very small
  • Thickening of the skin
  • Discoloration of the skin around the vagina
  • Tenderness

Surgery, chemotherapy and laser therapy are used in the treatment of vulvar cancer. The rate of recovery and treatments are highly depended upon the health condition and the intensity of the woman who is affected with vulvar cancer.

Facts and Statistics on Vulvar Cancer:

  • Nearly 4 percent of all gynecological cancers is the vulvar cancer which affects women in later stages of life.
  • It represents 0.6 percent of all the cancer types which affect women.
  • Women have 1 in 406 chance of developing this cancer at some point of their life in the United States.
  • S.No. Race / Ethnicity Vulvar Cancer Rate
    1.
    White
    1.8
    2.
    Black race
    1.3
    3.
    Asian / Pacific Islander
    0.4
    4.
    Hispanic
    1.3
    5.
    Non-hispanic
    1.8
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 2,300 new cases of vulvar cancer are diagnosed in this country each year.
  • Though the origin of the disease is not known yet, it is observed that smokers and HIV patients are at high risk of getting this disease.
  • Basal cell carcinoma is a slow progressing type of this cancer which affects 1-2 percent of elderly patients mostly.
  • Very rarely this cancer occur on the clitoris and in certain mucus-like lubricating fluid producing organs called the Bartholin’s glands on the sides of the openings of vegina.
  • Five year survival rate of this disease is 75 percent, but this rate decreases to mere 20 percent for patients diagnosed lately with the disease.
  • Surgery and radical vulvectomy are the main treatment therapy of this cancer on early detection.
  • Blood clotting, wound infection, edema and sexual dysfunction are some of the complications associated with surgery.
  • Potent treatment techniques like radition and chemotherapy are used selectively when the diseeae is in advanced stage.
  • Unfortunately, there has been a rise in the diagnosis of this disease in young women off late, because of its association with human papillomavirus (HPV).

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