Penn Medicine uses cutting-edge diagnostic tools and tests to diagnose vulvar cancer. If we suspect you have vulvar cancer, a gynecologic oncologist will examine your health history and perform an external and internal examination. A magnifying instrument called a colposcope may be used during this exam. A colposcope allows us to see your vulva more clearly and take a biopsy if we notice any abnormalities.
In addition to a physical exam, your oncologist may perform a Pap test to test for other cancers in the cervix and vagina. You may also have a biopsy, in which a small piece of a lesion is removed and then tested for pre-cancer or cancer.
Vulvar cancer is most often diagnosed at Stage 1, meaning that it is confined to the vulva. If it suspected that cancer has spread, the following tests may be performed:
- Lymph node biopsy, to see if the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes.
- Chest X-ray and computed tomography (CT) scan, to look for disease spread to lymph nodes and/or distant organs
- Endoscopy (cystoscopy and proctoscopy), if it is suspected that cancer has spread to the bladder or rectum
If you are diagnosed with vulvar cancer or precancer, we’ll develop a treatment plan that’s specific to you.
Learn about the vulvar cancer treatment options available at Penn Medicine