The vulva, which is the skin area between the legs of a woman’s feet, is comprised of all visible sex organs.
It is composed of two outer lips (the lubi majora), which are covered with pubic hair, and two inner lips (the lubi minora), which are delicate and thin. The tiny structure at the front of the vale is the clitoris, which helps women achieve a sexual peak (the clitoris). The clitoris, which is located just behind the clitoris, is the opening through the body that women use to pass urine (the urinary tract). Just below this is the birth canal or vagina. The vulva is separated from the anus, which opens to the back passage. The region between the rear-end of the vulva is called the perineum. These structures can be seen from the outside of your body.
The lymphatic system includes glands called lymph glands located in the groin. These glands can be found at the top of each leg where the skin meets the. This system forms part of the body’s natural defense against diseases. The lymph glands can become swollen if they are trying to treat an infection or cancer.
It is very rare to get cancer of vulva. This condition usually affects women between 55 and 75 years old, but it can also occur in older or younger women. It is more normal among more youthful ladies.
Cancer of the vulva may occur in any of the female sex organs. It’s most common in the inner labia minora or majora. Cancer may also affect the clitoris and the Bartholin glands less often. These are small glands located on either side of the vagina. Sometimes, it can affect the perineum.
Causes of cancer of the vulva
Although it is not yet known what causes cancer of the vulva, there is a lot of research being done.
VIN (vulval intraepithelial néoplasia), which can be found in the skin of vulva, is a condition known as. It can be caused by infection with some types of wart viruses, such as the human papillomavirus (HPV).
There are three levels to abnormality: VIN1, VIN2 or VIN3. VIN3 is the most severe and can lead to cancer of the vulva in some women. VIN is a condition that can lead to vulval cancer in nearly one-third of women.
There are many types of HPV. VIN is most common in the high-risk HPV types 16, 18, and 31. Others types (such as 6 and 11), can cause genital warts, but they are rarely fatal and are known as low-risk viruses.
Cancerbackup provides additional information about VIN and HPV.
The risk of developing cancer of vulva is higher for women who have had non-cancerous skin conditions over a prolonged period of time. These conditions, vulval-lichen sclerosus or vulval-lichen planus, can lead to long-term inflammation of skin in the vulval region.
Nearly two-thirds (32%) of vulval carcinomas are caused by women with lichen sclerosus. It is important to remember that only 1% of these women will get vulval disease. Cancerbackup’s section about vulval-lichen sclerosus or vulval-lichen planus provides additional information
Paget’s disease, a rare form of cancer of the vulva, can sometimes be linked to cancers elsewhere in the pelvic or digestive system.
Cigarette smoking can increase your chances of getting vulval or VIN cancer. It can lessen the viability of your resistant framework.
Like other types of cancer, cancer of the vulva is not contagious and can’t be passed on.
It is not caused due to an inherited defective gene. It is unlikely that other members of the family will develop it.
What are the symptoms of vulva cancer?
These are the most common symptoms of vaginal cancer.
Burning, itching, and soreness in vulva.
A lump, swelling, wart-like growth.
The vulva’s skin may have thickened or rose colored .
Bleeding or bloody vaginal discharge
Burning sensation when passing urine
Pain in the area around the vulva
A sore or ulcerated spot on the vulva
A mole on the vulva which changes in shape or colour (vulval melanoma).
It can take years for cancer of the vulva to develop. However, because it grows slowly, it is much easier to treat early on.
Types and stages of cancer in the vulva
Squamous cell carcinoma
90% of vulva cancers are caused by squamous cells located in the outer layer. Squamous cell carcinomas often grow slowly over several years.
This type of vulval carcinoma is second in incidence, but it is less common than the squamous cells type. About 44% (4%) of all vulval cancers in the world are melanoma. Melanomas are caused by pigment-producing cells, which give skin its colour.
They are extremely rare. These cells line the glands of the vulval skin and cause adenocarcinoma. Paget’s disease is a condition in which adenocarcinoma cell spreads from these glands to the skin of vulva.
Verrucous carcinoma, a rare and slow-growing type that looks like a wart, is rare.
Sarcomas of vulva are rare. Sarcomas are cells that develop in tissues such as muscle and fat under the skin. They grow faster than other types.
There are many types of sarcomas that can affect the vulva. These include angiosarcomas, leiomyosarcomas, rhabdomyosarcomas, and neurofibrosarcomas.
The benefits and disadvantages of treatment of vulva cancer
Many people are afraid of the possibility of having cancer treatment, especially because of possible side effects. Many people wonder what would happen if there was no treatment.
Side effects can occur with many treatments, but we have more information about the treatment and better ways to reduce or avoid many of these issues.
Different reasons can lead to treatment and the benefits may vary depending on the individual. Surgery is performed to cure vulval cancer in the early stages. Additional treatments may sometimes be necessary to reduce the risk of cancer returning. If the cancer is advanced, treatment may not prove effective. It can reduce symptoms and improve quality of life. Some people will not see any benefit from the treatment and will suffer side effects.
It may not be difficult to decide whether to accept treatment that promises to cure cancer. It may be harder to decide whether or not to accept treatment if there is no cure and the treatment is only meant to manage the cancer for a certain time.
It is difficult to make decisions in these situations and may require you to talk with your doctor. You can choose to not have treatment. However, supportive (palliative), care can still be provided with medications to manage any symptoms.
Why are further tests necessary?
Sometimes, additional tests are needed even after a diagnosis has been made to determine the extent and location of the cancer and whether it has spread. This is known as staging and can take some time.
These results will allow you and your doctor decide the best treatment. These tests can be repeated after you are finished with treatment or during your recovery.
While tests can be useful, they cannot diagnose vulval cancer. Sometimes, similar results can be obtained from other medical conditions. This makes it difficult to determine if there is cancer.
Doctors are trained in the ability to combine information from various tests and examinations with patient symptoms and medical histories and place it all together. It is best to have any test results discussed with your doctor.
These tests are used most frequently for cancer of the vulva.
To check the amount of cells in your blood, and to assess how well your liver and kidneys are functioning, we take a sample of your blood. Chest radiography This test is done to ensure that your heart and lungs are healthy.
This series of x-rays builds a 3-D image of the inside of your body. Although the scan is painless, it takes more time than an ordinary xray (10-30 minutes). The radiation used in CT scans is low-dose and unlikely to cause any harm.
You will need to have a special liquid (called a contrast medium) before the scan. This liquid is what will show up on xray. A contrast medium may be injected into your arm via a vein.
A tampon will be placed into the vagina just before the scan starts. The nurse will then pass the liquid into your back passage (rectum), which will show up on xrays. These preparations will ensure the best possible scan. Once you have settled down, the scan will take place.
This illustration shows a CT scan being performed on a person. The person is lying on the scanner table covered with a blanket while the radiograph works the machine.
Before you get the injection, or drink, it is important that you inform your doctor if you are allergic to iodine. The injection can usually be given as long as you have received treatment with a steroid drug like prednisolone the day before and on the day of the injection.
Most likely, you will be able go home after the scan is complete.
Magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI scan)
The test works in the same way as a CT scan but uses a magnetic field to create cross-sectional images of your body. To improve the image, some people receive dye injections into their arm veins.
The test will require you to remain still for at least an hour on a couch in a long, enclosed chamber. If you do not like enclosed spaces, this can be uncomfortable.
The MRI scanning process can be very loud. However, you will be provided with earplugs and headphones. To keep you company, you can usually bring someone along to the room.
You should take out any metal objects before you enter the chamber. Because of the magnetic fields, MRIs cannot be performed on patients with pacemakers, cardiac monitors, or other surgical clips.
Examination under anaesthetic
Under general anaesthesia, this is an examination of your vulva. This allows the doctor to thoroughly examine you without any discomfort, and to assess the extent of your cancer.