Vulvar cancer types

This page was reviewed under our medical and editorial policy by

Maurie Markman, MD, President, Medicine & Science

This page was updated on June 7, 2022.

Every vulvar cancer patient is different. The cancer experts at City of Hope have extensive experience in properly staging and diagnosing the disease, and developing a treatment plan that's tailored to your specific type of vulvar cancer.

Vulvar cancer is categorized by two main types:

Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common type, accounting for the vast majority of all vulvar cancers.

Adenocarcinoma accounts for approximately 8 percent of vulvar cancers. These cancers usually begin in the Bartholin glands, which are found just inside the entrance of the vagina and normally produce a mucous-like fluid that acts as a lubricant. Adenocarcinomas may also develop in sweat glands. Another related condition is Paget’s disease, in which the adenocarcinoma cells are restricted to the top layer of the skin of the vulva. Some patients with this condition may also have an area of invasive adenocarcinoma. Adenocarcinoma also includes melanoma, which may develop on the vulva, as well as basal cell carcinomas and sarcomas. These types account for fewer than 10 percent of all vulvar cancers.

Next topic: What are the stages of vulvar cancer?

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