Vulvar cancer is a rare form of cancer that forms on a woman’s external genitals. It usually develops slowly over the course of a few years as precancerous cells grow and accumulate to form a tumor. While the cause is not known, age, smoking, exposure to HPV, and a history of skin conditions or precancerous conditions of the vulva also increase the risk of developing vulvar cancer.
While treatment depends on the stage of the cancer, surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy may be used to treat vulvar cancer. Surgical treatments may include removal of the tumor, lymph nodes around the groin, and in severe cases, a portion or the entire vulva. Radiation therapy may be used to shrink the tumor to make a successful surgery more likely. Chemotherapy may be used in severe cases if the cancer spreads to other parts of the body, and can also be used to shrink the tumor before surgery.