Also known as cancer of the vulva or vulval cancer
What is vulvar cancer?
Vulvar cancer is a rare and slow-growing cancer that starts in the external female sex organs – generally the inner edges of the labia majora (outer lips) or labia minora (inner lips).
Sometimes vulvar cancer involves the clitoris, the Bartholin glands, on either side of the vagina, or the perineum (the small area between the vulva and anus). Around 1,100 women are diagnosed with vulvar cancer every year in the UK.
As is often the case with women who have an abnormal cervical smear, abnormal or pre-cancerous cells found in the vulva do not always develop into cancer. Sometimes these abnormalities resolve themselves; other times, treatment can prevent cancer.
The different types of vulvar cancer?
There are two main types of vulvar cancer: squamous cell carcinoma, which accounts for about 90 percent of cases, and vulva melanoma, which makes up about 4 percent of cases. There are also several much rarer types of vulvar cancer, including adenocarcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, verrucous carcinoma, and sarcomas.