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
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 CancerHuman Papillomavirus Genotypes From Vaginal and Vulvar Intraepithelial Neoplasia in Females 15-26 Years of Age. - Published by PubMed
International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease Recommendations Regarding Female Cosmetic Genital Surgery. - Published by PubMed
L1 Recombinant Proteins of HPV Tested for Antibody Forming Using Sera of HPV Quadrivalent Vaccine. - Published by PubMed
Somatic mutation profiling of vulvar cancer: Exploring therapeutic targets. - Published by PubMed
Evaluation of CHK1 activation in vulvar squamous cell carcinoma and its potential as a therapeutic target in vitro. - Published by PubMed