Vulvar cancer is the result of cancerous cells growing uncontrollably on or in the vulva. It is the exterior part of the female sexual organs. It’s distinct than vaginal cancer that begins inside the vagina..
A woman’s vulva consists of :
- An opening in the vagina. This is the tube-like channel that flows out from their uterus.
- Labia. These are two sets of skin folds that look similar to lips. The labia majora are the soft, fleshy placed that are on their outside. Labia minora tend to be smaller and are set inside the labia minora.
- The Clitoris. This is a delicate knob of skin tissue that is located under the skin’s hood where the labia majora meet.
- The Mons Pubis. This is the soft mound on the front of the pubic bones, which is covered in hair during puberty..
- Perineum. This is the layer of skin that lies that lies between the vulva of their the anus.
Vulvar Cancer Symptoms
There is a chance that you do not experience any symptoms at the beginning. As time passes, you could suffer from:
- Changes to the hue of your Vulva
- Unusual bumps or growths which could be red, white, pink or are rough or hard
- A change in the way moles appear
- The skin of your vulva is thickened
- An open sore
- The itching that won’t stop
- Pain or soreness burning
- An unusual Vaginal bleeding or discharge
- The pain when you pee
These could be indications of other illnesses So, consult your doctor if you observe issues.
There are many types of Vulvar Cancer
There are a variety of main types of this illness.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma. This is the most frequent kind. It is a skin cancer that develops in cells. It may be connected with the Human Papillomavirus ( HPV) particularly in women who are younger. The verrucous carcinoma develops slowly and may appear like the appearance of a wart.
Adenocarcinoma. This type usually originates in the Bartholin’s glands, which are located in the vagina’s opening. It is also known as the Bartholin gland tumor. It may look similar to an lump. However it may also develop in sweat glands that are located in the vulva’s skin or in the upper layer of the vulvar skin that is known as Paget’s Disease.
Melanoma. This type is found in cells that produce pigment, also known as skin color. It is more likely to develop it on skin that’s been exposed to sunlight, however it can also form on the vulva of your body.
Sarcoma. This is a bone-related connective tissue or muscle cells. It can occur at any time, even when you are a child.
Basal Cell Carcinoma. This is the most frequent kind of skin cancer. It’s usually found on the skin exposed to sunlight but seldom on the vulva.
Vulvar Cancer Causes and Risk Factors
The precise reasons for vulvar cancer aren’t yet known. However, certain factors may increase the chance of developing it. They include:
- Age. The majority of cases are among women who are over 70.
- An unusual history of tests for Pap tests.
- HIV also known as AIDS
- Melanoma or other unusual moles
- A family record of melanomas
- A precancerous disorder such as vulvar intraepithelial tumor (VIN). The changes occur in the tissues or cells that may occur years before being diagnosed with cancer.
- Vaginal, or cervical cancer
- Lichen Sclerosus, a disorder that causes the vulvar’s skin to become thin and itchy
- Smoking is especially dangerous in the event that you’ve also been diagnosed with HPV
Diagnostics of Vulvar Cancer
Your appointment might include:
- A medical background. Your doctor will be able to inquire about your general well-being, including your lifestyle and diseases.
- A pelvic exam. They’ll examine your vulva to find symptoms of cancer, through looking over the region and examining your uterus, vagina the ovaries, bladder and the rectum.
- Colposcopy. A magnifying device known as a colposcope will give you a the most detailed view of the areas of concern in your vagina, vulva and the cervix. The procedure is also known as an vasoscopy.
- biopsy. Your doctor may take a piece of tissue to an expert to study under microscope.
- imaging tests. X-rays, PET scans and CT scans and MRIs provide detailed images of of your body. These tests can let your doctor know whether you’re suffering from cancer, or how much it has in its spread.
Vulvar Cancer Stages
If your tests reveal signs of cancer Your doctor will take a take a look at the size of the tumor is, and whether it has spread
- Stage 1. The tumor is small and isn’t spreading beyond your perineum and vulva.
- Stage II. The cancer has spread to nearby tissues, but not into your lymph nodes.
- stage III. It’s spread to adjacent tissues as well as to the lymph nodes located in your groin.
- stage IV. Cancer has reached the top of your urethra, your vagina the anus, any portion of your body further from you.
Vulvar Cancer Treatment
The treatment you receive is contingent on many factors like the kind of cancer, the much it’s spread and your general health. The four primary treatment options are:
- Surgery. The most commonly used. Your doctor may employ one of the following procedures:
Ultrasound surgical aspiration. Sound waves split the tumor into tiny pieces. Your doctor will remove them.
Laser surgeries. They use a laser to cut through or remove damaged tissue, such as your lymph nodes, part of your vulva, and other organs. This procedure is not suitable to treat tumors that are invasive.
Excision. The doctor removes the tumor along with the surrounding tissue. it.
A large local excision takes away a portion of the tissue.
An surgical excision that is radical and local eliminates a substantial quantity of tissue, as well as lymph nodes.
Vulvectomy. The majority or even the entire vulva has been removed. There are many types of vulva removal:
Skinning Vvulvectomy. Your doctor takes the skin’s top layer off your Vulva.
Simple Vulvectomy. This procedure removes the entire vulva as well as tissue located under your skin.
Modified or partial radical Vulvectomy. This involves removing the majority of your vulva, and possible lymph nodes that are nearby.
Radial vulvectomy. Your doctor removes the entire vulva along with adjacent lymph nodes.
Exenteration of the pelvis. This procedure removes the lymph nodes and vulva and one or more nearby organslike the lower colon, bladder, uterus, rectum or vagina.
- Radiotherapy. It uses X-rays with high power or other radiation forms to eliminate cancer. The doctor may recommend an instrument that beams radiation into your body, or place a needle that emits radioactive radiation or seed in your body on or near the area of cancer.
- Chemotherapy (“chemo”). Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to stop or kill the growth of cancerous cells. These drugs can be taken through through your mouth or via an IV. Certain kinds are available as cream or lotion that you apply to your skin.
- Immunotherapy, also known as biologic therapy. This therapy targets your immune system , boosting the body’s protection against cancer.
Vulvar Cancer Outlook
After treatment, you’ll be seeing your doctor regularly for follow-ups. It is possible that you will need pelvic examinations every 3 to 6 months for the duration of 2 years, and after that, every 6-12 months over 3 to five years. Your doctor may also suggest additional screening tests.
The results you get will depend what type of cancer you have you have and the stage at which it is. In general, over 70 percent of women with the vulvar cancer will live for more than 5 years following the time the diagnosis.
5 year survival rates are 86 percent for women whose cancer isn’t spreading beyond their vulva. If the cancer has spread to adjacent lymph nodes or tissues and lymph nodes, the percentage is 53 percent. For women with cancer that has spread further in their body, around 23% will live for 5 years.
Experts believe that 1,350 women in the United States die of vulvar cancer every year.
The side effects of vulvar treatments for cancer
Before beginning treatment, speak to your physician about what to be expecting, including potential negative side consequences.
The risk of developing wounds is high following the vulvar procedure. It is important to maintain the wound and to practice proper hygiene.
Radiation, surgery or chemo may also result in:
- Inflammation or injury to your bladder or bowels. It could cause changes in your habits, but they usually fade in a matter of weeks.
- Dryness, scarring and shrinking of the tissue in the vagina
- Uncomfortable when wearing tight-fitting pants
- Urinary tract infections
- A fluid filled cysts close to the wound
- blood clots which can spread into your lung
- Legs swelling that is severe due to the buildup of lymphatic fluid ( lymphedema)
- A gap between your bladder (rectum) and the vagina (fistula)
Keep your medical staff informed regarding any adverse side effects from treatment so that they can assist you deal with them.
The vulvar cancer as well as sexual sex
It’s not uncommon to experience physical and mental issues following treatment for the vulvar cancer. The body may appear or feel differently. It is possible to experience an ache during sex or having a difficult time getting to the orgasm or puking.
Do not be afraid to speak to your physician about these changes and the steps you should consider. Counseling could be helpful and you may decide to undergo reconstructive surgery.
Vulvar Cancer Prevention
You can decrease your risk of developing vulvar carcinoma by making a few changes to your lifestyle:
- Do not get HPV. Limit your number of sexual partners. Practice safe sex, including using condoms. You should get an HPV-vaccine that can in preventing Genital warts as well as various forms of cancer.
- Don’t smoke.
- Check in regularly. Talk to your doctor as soon as you can in the event that you discover an issue between checkups.