Cancer Treatment Centers of America
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Surgery for vulvar cancer

surgical oncology

Surgery for vulvar cancer

Our experienced gynecologic oncologist performs numerous surgical procedures to treat vulvar cancers:

  • Local excision: Also known as a wide excision, the doctor removes the cancer and some of the surrounding normal tissue (the margin). Nearby lymph nodes may also be removed and examined for signs of cancer cells.
  • Vulvectomy: For this type of surgery, all or part of the vulva is removed. In some cases, the surrounding supporting tissue is also removed (radical vulvectomy).
  • Pelvic extenteration: During this extensive vulvar cancer surgical procedure, the uterus, cervix, vagina, ovaries, bladder, rectum and nearby lymph nodes may be removed, depending on the extent of the cancer. Tissue from elsewhere in the body is used to reconstruct the vagina, and urine and stool are passed into external bags. This operation is rarely used to treat vaginal cancers, but may be necessary if the cancer comes back after radiation therapy, or in cases where radiation therapy cannot be used.

What is surgery?

Surgery is used to diagnose, stage and treat cancer, and certain cancer-related symptoms. At Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), our experienced surgeons have performed thousands of procedures and will discuss the surgical options that are best suited to your individual needs.

Whether a patient is a candidate for surgery depends on factors such as the type, size, location, grade and stage of the tumor, as well as general health factors such as age, physical fitness and other medical comorbidities. For many patients, surgery will be combined with other cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy or hormone therapy. These may be administered before surgery (neoadjuvant) or after surgery (adjuvant) to help prevent cancer growth, spread or recurrence.

Early in the treatment planning process, we plan for and proactively manage any side effects from surgery. Our nutritionists, rehabilitation therapists and naturopathic clinicians work together with your surgical oncologist to support your healing and quality of life. Our reconstructive surgeons perform procedures to restore the body's appearance and function, often at the time of surgery or following surgery.