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Vulvar Cancer: Symptoms

What are the symptoms of vulvar cancer?

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

  • Vulvar itching that doesn't 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 the surrounding skin.

  • Wartlike bump or bumps, cauliflowerlike growths, or ulcers or sores on the vulva that last for more than a month

  • Pain when urinating

  • Burning or bleeding and discharge that isn't 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 more than 1/4 inch across.

When to see your healthcare provider

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

Online Medical Reviewer: Donna Freeborn PhD CNM FNP
Online Medical Reviewer: Howard Goodman MD
Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 9/1/2021
© 2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. 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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