Vulvar Cancer Symptoms & Signs
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What Are the Symptoms of Vulvar Cancer?
Finding vulvar cancer while it is still at an early stage increases the chance for successful treatment. Regular gynecological exams are important, and you should discuss any changes or unusual symptoms with your doctor.
Women with the precancerous condition vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN) often do not experience any symptoms. Sometimes they may complain of persistent itching, or they may notice a patch that is thicker and lighter than the surrounding skin. In some cases, the patch may be red or pink, or even darker than the surrounding area.
Women with invasive forms of the disease often experience vulvar cancer symptoms, such as:
- A red, pink or white bump(s) that has a raw or wart-like surface
- A white area that feels rough
- Persistent itching
- Pain, or a burning feeling while urinating
- Bleeding and discharge not associated with menstruation
- An open sore or ulcer that lasts more than a month
Women with the verrucous carcinoma subtype of squamous cell vulvar cancer may notice a cauliflower-like growth similar to a genital wart. Bartholin gland cancer is usually associated with a lump on either side of the opening to the vagina, although this may also be a simple cyst. Women with Paget disease often complain of soreness, and a red, scaly area.
Since these symptoms of vulvar cancer may also indicate any number of non-cancerous conditions, any unusual itching, pain or changes to the skin of the vulva should be discussed with a gynecologist to accurately identify the cause and determine the appropriate treatment, if necessary.
NOTE: These symptoms may be attributed to a number of conditions other than cancer. It is important to consult with a medical professional for an accurate diagnosis.
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