Alternate Names : Cancer – perineum
Vulvar cancer is cancer that starts in the vulva. Vulvar cancer most often affects the labia, the folds of skin outside the vagina. In some cases, vulvar cancer may start on the clitoris or in glands on the sides of the vagina opening.
Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
Most vulvar cancers begin in skin cells called squamous cells. Other vulvar cancers are:
- Basal cell carcinoma
Vulvar cancer is relatively rare. Risk factors include:
- Human papilloma virus (HPV, or genital warts) infection in women under age 50
- Chronic skin changes such as lichen sclerosis or squamous hyperplasia in women over age 50
- History of cervical cancer or vaginal cancer
Women with a condition called vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN) have a greater risk of developing vulvar cancer that spreads. However, most cases of VIN never lead to cancer.
Pictures & Images
Female perineal anatomy
The female external reproductive anatomy includes the vagina.
Review Date : 1/31/2010
Reviewed By : Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; and Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.