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Vulvar Cancer

The gynecologic cancer specialists at Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center understand that an accurate and quick diagnosis is key to offering the best treatment options available for vulvar cancer.

We have extensive experience in surgical and medical treatments for vulvar cancer. Our gynecologic cancer team is made up of specialists in surgery, radiology, pathology and radiation oncology who work together to develop customized treatment plans for each patient with vulvar cancer.

What is vulvar cancer?

Vulvar cancer forms in the tissues of the vulva, which include the inner and outer labia, clitoris, vaginal opening and glands, the mons pubis (skin covering the pubic bones) and the perineum. It is a relatively rare, slow-growing cancer that is most often found in the outer labia.

Types of vulvar cancer

Vulvar cancers are often the types of cancers that affect skin, such as squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma, but several types of cancers can develop on the vulva:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma. These represent the majority of vulvar cancers. Squamous cell carcinoma typically develops at the edges of the labia majora, labia minora or the vagina. It is slow-growing and usually develops from precancerous lesions.
  • Melanoma. This is the second most common type of vulvar cancer, representing 5 percent to 10 percent of cases. Roughly half of all melanoma vulvar cancers involve the labia majora.
  • Adenocarcinoma. Adenocarcinomas of the vulva are also rare, but can develop from glands such as the Bartholin's glands at the vaginal opening.