Vulvar cancer symptoms
Women with early vulvar cancer may have few obvious symptoms, but most women are diagnosed after a long history of vulvar symptoms. These may include:
- itching, burning and soreness or pain in the vulva
- a lump, sore, swelling or wart-like growth on the vulva
- thickened, raised skin patches (may be red, white or dark brown)
- a mole on the vulva that changes shape or colour
- blood, pus or other discharge coming from an area of skin or a sore spot in the vulva, which may have an offensive or unusual smell or colour (not related to your menstrual period)
- hard or swollen lymph nodes in the groin area.
Many women don’t look at their vulva, so they don’t know what is normal for them. The vulva can be difficult to see without a mirror, and some women feel uncomfortable examining their genitals. However, if you feel any pain in your genital area or notice any of these symptoms, visit your general practitioner (GP) for a check-up.
Prof Jonathan Carter, Director, Gynaecological Oncology, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, and Professor of Gynaecological Oncology, The University of Sydney, NSW; Ellen Barlow, Clinical Nurse Consultant, Gynaecological Cancer Centre, The Royal Hospital for Women, NSW; Dr Dani Bullen, Clinical Psychologist, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Wendy Cram, Consumer; Dr Tiffany Daly, Senior Radiation Oncologist, Radiation Oncology Princess Alexandra Raymond Terrace (ROPART), South Brisbane, QLD; Kim Hobbs, Clinical Specialist Social Worker, Westmead Centre for Gynaecological Cancer, Westmead Hospital, NSW; Anya Traill, Head of Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC. We also thank the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title.
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