A Fox Chase Women's Cancer Center Program

Vulvar Cancer

What is Cancer of the Vulva?

HPV infection and older age can increase the risk of getting vulvar cancer.

Vulvar cancer is a rare disease in which cancerous cells form in the tissues of the vulva. Vulva refers to the external female genital organs, including the clitoris, vaginal lips and the opening to the vagina.

HPV (human papillomavirus) infection and older age can increase the risk of getting vulvar cancer. Possible symptoms of vulvar cancer include bleeding or itching. This uncommon cancer will affect more than 3,700 American women this year.

Treatment Options for Vulvar Cancer

Surgery is usually the primary treatment for cancer of the vulva. Newer surgical techniques may remove the cancer with minimal effects on sexual function. Adjuvant therapy with chemotherapy or radiation may be used after surgery to kill any remaining cancerous cells.

Reconstructive surgery may improve a woman's quality of life. Our highly experienced surgeons can perform procedures to restore the anatomy and retain function. Plastic surgeons at Fox Chase can perform reconstruction of the vulva and vagina. Following radiation therapy or surgery, skin grafting is used in the vulva and groin. Vital organs can be reconstructed (bladder, vagina, pelvic floor) that had been surgically removed or damaged during radiation treatment. Bladder reconstruction can be performed by making a pouch to hold urine internally, which makes an external bag unnecessary.

[3/3/2014]

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