What is Vulvar Cancer?
Vulvar cancer is the term describing any cancer which affects the vulva, the
external genital area in women. It is most common among women over 65. However,
vulvar cancer rates are increasing among women under 45, seemingly due to links
with HPV (human papilloma virus) and smoking. While this cancer has extremely
high survival rates when caught early, vulvar cancer diagnoses are often delayed
by 1 to 2 years due to misdiagnoses and patient's failure to report symptoms.
Vulvar self-exams (VSE) can help women to observe symptoms of both cancer and
benign disorders in their early stages. In fact, over the past two decades there
have been several medical reports urging healthcare providers to teach women
about VSE. This has yet to become a mainstream practice, however, and most
women have never heard about this method of early detection. The silence surrounding
our vulvar health needs to be broken so that women can have increased access
to their complete healthcare needs.
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Created: 8/27/2001  - Donnica Moore, M.D.
Reviewed: 6/30/2003  - Donnica Moore, M.D.