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  1. Basics
  2. Symptoms
  3. Diagnosis
  4. Treatment
  5. Prevention
  6. Knowledge Center

Our Approach

A team of some of the nation's top experts gives you its full attention when you are treated for vulvar cancer. They concentrate on customizing your care to include the most-advanced treatments with the least impact on your body.

These physicians target vulvar cancer with the latest technology and treatments, while focusing on quality of life. In order to personalize care and optimize outcomes, each team includes doctors from many specialties, including radiation oncology, radiology, pathology, and plastic and reconstructive surgery. They are joined by a support staff specially trained in caring for women with vulvar cancer.

As one of the nation's top cancer centers, we care for more women with vulvar cancer each year than many oncologists see in a lifetime. This gives us an extraordinary level of experience and expertise, which may help you have a higher chance for successful treatment.  

You're surrounded by the strength of one of the nation's largest and most experienced comprehensive cancer centers, which has all the support and wellness services needed to treat the whole person – not just the disease.

Surgical Skill

This experience is especially important if you need surgery for vulvar cancer, which often is complex and delicate. Surgeons, who are among the best in the nation, are highly skilled in the least invasive procedures, which are good options for some women.

If you are a candidate for reconstructive surgery after treatment for vulvar cancer, our plastic surgeons use the most advanced techniques available. They are specialized and experienced – which can have a huge impact on surgical success.

Innovative Research

We continue to investigate newer, more advanced treatments for vulvar cancer. We are one of the top research sites in the country, which means we offer a number of clinical trials for vulvar cancer.

Symptoms of vulvar cancer vary from woman to woman. They may include:

  • Red, pink or white bump (or bumps) with a rough or scaly surface on the vulva
  • Burning, pain or itching in the genital area
  • Pain when you urinate
  • Bleeding and discharge when you are not having a menstrual period
  • Sore on the vulva that does not heal for a month
  • Change in a mole in the genital area
  • Lump close to the opening to the vagina

These symptoms do not always mean you have vulvar cancer. However, it is important to discuss any symptoms with your doctor, since they may signal other health problems.

Early and accurate diagnosis of vulvar cancer is important. It also is crucial to find out if and where the cancer has spread. This helps your doctors choose the best therapies for you.

At MD Anderson, specialized experts use the most modern and accurate equipment to diagnose vulvar cancer. With pinpoint attention to detail, our pathologists, diagnostic radiologists and specially trained technicians find the exact extent of disease. This helps increase the likelihood your treatment will be successful.

Vulvar Cancer Diagnostic Tests

If you have symptoms that may signal vulvar cancer, your doctor will examine you and ask you questions about your health, your lifestyle and your family medical history. Then, your doctor will do a pelvic exam and pap smear.

If you have a growth in the vulvar area that the doctor thinks might be cancer, the only way to tell for sure is a biopsy. Your doctor may use a special instrument called a colposcope to magnify the area and make it easier to remove the tissue. A small bit of tissue will be removed by:

  • Excisional biopsy: A small knife is used
  • Punch biopsy: A tiny punch tool is used

Other tests may help find out if you have vulvar cancer and if it has spread. These tests also may be used to learn if treatment is working.

Imaging tests, which may include:

  • CT or CAT (computed axial tomography) scans
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans
  • PET (positron emission tomography) scans
  • Chest X-ray

Our Treatment Approach

A team of nationally known experts concentrates on giving you the most-advanced treatments for vulvar cancer. Consideration for your quality of life is always a priority. For this reason, we focus on therapies that have the least impact on your body, yet target the cancer with the most-advanced methods.

Our physicians are at the forefront of pioneering less radical approaches, including sentinel node biopsy procedures. Research done here has helped the standard care for vulvar cancer evolve into less-radical surgery combined with other therapies, including chemotherapy and radiation.

And we’re constantly researching newer, safe, more-advanced vulvar cancer treatments. This translates to a number of clinical trials.

Our Vulvar Cancer Treatments

If you are diagnosed with vulvar cancer, your doctor will discuss the best options to treat it. This depends on several factors, including:

  • The type and stage of the cancer
  • Your overall health
  • Your age
  • Your preferences

Your treatment for vulvar cancer at MD Anderson will be customized to your particular needs. One or more of the following therapies may be recommended to treat the cancer or help relieve symptoms.

Vulvar Cancer Screening

Cancer screening exams are important medical tests done when you’re at risk but don’t have symptoms. They help find cancer at its earliest stage, when the chances for successful treatment are highest.

Unfortunately, no standardized screening tests have been shown to improve vulvar cancer outcomes. However, having regular pelvic exams and knowing the signs of vulvar cancer greatly improve the chances of early detection and successful treatment.

Vulvar Cancer Risk Factors

Anything that increases your chance of getting vulvar cancer is a risk factor. These include:

  • Age:  More than half of women who develop vulvar cancer are over 70 years old
  • HPV (human papilloma virus)
  • Smoking tobacco.
  • HIV (human immunodeficiency virus)
  • Vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN), a precancerous condition usually caused by HPV
  • Cervical cancer
  • Melanoma or atypical moles on other parts of the body
  • Family history of melanoma

Not everyone with risk factors gets vulvar cancer. However, if you have risk factors, it’s a good idea to discuss them with your health care provider. 

Contact Us

TATA MEMORIAL HOSPITAL
Dr. E Borges Road, Parel, Mumbai - 400 012 India
Phone: +91-22- 24177000, 24146750 - 55
Fax: +91-22-24146937
E-mail : msoffice@tmc.gov.in (for patient care and queries) / hrd@tmc.gov.in(for administrative - HRD matters)

629107 (60)