What is Vulva Cancer?
Vulvar cancer is a rare type of cancer of the vulva in females. The vulva comprises of the skin surrounding the urethra and vagina, and includes the clitoris and labia. It can occur at any age but is more commonly diagnosed in older women. The patient often presents with an itchy lump or sore on the vulva. Treatment of Vulvar cancer predominantly involves surgery.
The commonest types of Vulvar cancer are vulvar squamous cell carcinoma and vulvar melanoma; Vulvar squamous cell carcinoma is more common than the latter and arises from the thin flat cells lining the Vulvar surface. Melanoma arises from pigment-producing cells.
Causes and Risk FactorsThe exact cause for vulvar cancer is yet to be known. In general, genetic mutations that lead to permanent uncontrolled cell divisions cause cancers. The following factors are thought to increase the risk of acquiring Vulvar cancer:
- Increasing age raises the risk of Vulvar cancer.
- HPV (Human Papilloma Virus), a sexually transmitted viral infection, predisposes young sexually active women to Vulvar cancer and cancer of the cervix. It should be noted that not all women exposed to HPV develop Vulvar cancer.
- Smoking is a known risk factor of Vulvar cancer.
- Infection with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) compromises the immunity of persons making them susceptible to HPV infections, thereby increasing the risk of cancer.
- Having a particular condition (or a history of having it) called vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia may increase the risk of Vulvar cancer. Only a minority with this ‘precancerous’ condition will develop the cancer.
- Lichen sclerosus is a condition that makes the Vulvar skin thin and itchy. It increases the risk of acquiring Vulvar cancer.
Latest Publications and Research on Vulvar CancerA comparative analysis of the epidemiological impact and disease cost-savings of HPV vaccines in France. - Published by PubMed
Squamous cell carcinomas in patients with Fanconi anemia and dyskeratosis congenita: A search for human papillomavirus. - Published by PubMed
Added-value of SPECT/CT to lymphatic mapping and sentinel lymphadenectomy in gynaecological cancers. - Published by PubMed
Chemotherapy of vulvar cancer: a review. - Published by PubMed
Prognostic value of the number and laterality of metastatic inguinal lymph nodes in vulvar cancer: Revisiting the FIGO staging system. - Published by PubMed