Vulvar cancer

Other Names:
Cancer of the vulva

Vulvar cancer is a cancer of the vulva, the outer portion of the female genitals. It most commonly affects the labia majora. Less often, the labia minora, clitoris, or Bartholin's glands are affected. Symptoms include a lump, itchiness, changes in the skin, or bleeding from the vulva.

Risk factors include vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN), HPV infection, genital warts, smoking, and many sexual partners. Most vulvar cancers are squamous cell cancers. Other types include adenocarcinoma, melanoma, sarcoma, and basal cell carcinoma. Diagnosis is suspected based on physical examination and confirmed by tissue biopsy. Routine screening is not recommended.

Prevention may include HPV vaccination. Standard treatments may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and biologic therapy. Vulvar cancer newly affected about 44,200 people and resulted in 15,200 deaths globally in 2018. In the United States, it newly occurred in about 6,070 people with 1,280 deaths a year. Onset is typically after the age of 45. The five-year survival rate for vulvar cancer is around 71% as of 2015. Outcomes, however, are affected by whether spread has occurred to lymph nodes.


Cancer of the vulva is more common in smokers than nonsmokers. In a US study of 903 female cancer patients, 60 percent of those with vulvar and anal cancers and 42 percent of those with cervical and vaginal cancers were smokers against only 27 percent of comparable women without cancer.

Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being
Problem Type:
G: Very specific problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST