What is vulvar cancer?
Cancer of the vulva (vulvar cancer) can start in any part of the external female sex organs. The most common areas for cancer to develop are on the inner or outer lips of the vulva (labia minora and labia majora) and the space between the anus and opening of the vagina (perineum).
Less often, vulvar cancer may involve the clitoris. It can also begin in or spread to the glands near the opening of the vagina that produce mucus (Bartholin’s glands).
Vulvar cancer symptoms
There are often no obvious symptoms of vulvar cancer. However, you may have one or more of the following symptoms:
- bloody, pussy or smelly vaginal discharge not related to your menstrual period
- itching, burning and soreness or pain in the vulva
- a lump, sore, swelling or wart-like growth on the vulva
- thickened, raised, red, white or dark brown skin patches
- a mole on the vulva that changes shape or colour.
Vulvar cancer statistics
- About 280 Australian women are diagnosed with vulvar cancer each year.
- It usually affects post-menopausal women aged 55-75, but it can sometimes occur in younger or older women.
The aim of this information is to help you understand about vulva cancer. We cannot advise you about the best treatment for you. You need to discuss this with your doctors. However, we hope this information will answer some of your questions and help you think about the questions you would like to ask your doctors or other health carers.