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Vulvar Cancer: Symptoms

What are the symptoms of vulvar cancer?

You can have vulvar cancer without having any symptoms. But some women do have symptoms. These are some symptoms of the most common type of vulvar cancer, squamous cell carcinoma:

  • Vulvar itching that does not get better

  • A change in skin color around your vulva. Your skin may become redder, lighter, or darker in color than the surrounding skin.

  • A change in the feel of your skin around your vulva. Your skin may feel thicker, scalier, rougher, or bumpier than surrounding skin.

  • Wart-like bump or bumps, cauliflower-like growths, or ulcers or sores on the vulva that last for more than a month

  • Pain when urinating

  • Burning or bleeding and discharge that's not related to your menstrual cycle

  • Enlarged lymph glands in your groin

A much less common type of vulvar cancer, called melanoma of the vulva, may also cause the symptoms above. But it may also show up as a change in a mole that’s been there for years or a new mole. The mole may be asymmetrical. This means that one half doesn’t match the other. It may have an irregular or lacy border. This means that the edges are ragged. Or the mole may also be irregular in color or wider than 1/4 inch.

When to see your healthcare provider

Many of these symptoms may be caused by other health problems. But it is important to see your healthcare provider if you have these symptoms. Only a healthcare provider can tell if you have cancer.

Online Medical Reviewer: Goodman, Howard, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Stump-Sutliff, Kim, RN, MSN, AOCNS
Date Last Reviewed: 7/1/2016
© 2013 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare provider's instructions.
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