What is the vagina and vulva?
The vagina is the tube that connect the vulva to the cervix.
The vulva is the external genitals, made up of the labia majora, labia minora, the clitoris and bartholin glands.
Vaginal and vulva cancer is rare.
Symptoms of Vaginal cancer
You may have:
A lump in the vagina
Skin changes in the vagina
Bleeding after sex
Bleeding between periods
Pain when urinating
Changes to your discharge
Symptoms of vulva cancer
You may experience:
Pain and soreness on the vulva
A lump or sore on the vulva
Bleeding from the vulva
Blood stained discharge
Pain when urinating
A mole on the vulva that has changed appearance
It is important to note that having these symptoms does not mean you have vaginal or vulva cancer as they are also symptoms of other conditions. It is best to get check out by a professional to rule out cancer and treat the cause of your symptoms.
What causes vaginal cancer and vulva cancer?
Vaginal cancer is often caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) virus.
The cause of vulva cancer is unknown but the risk increases with age, having skin conditions affecting the vulva, smoking, having abnormal cells in the vulva and having several HPV infections.
Can I lower my risk?
You can lower your risk by attending your cervical screening tests to detect HPV, maintaining a healthy lifestyle of not smoking and eating well and practicing safe sex.
Diagnosing vaginal and vulva cancer
Vaginal cancer is diagnosed with a colposcopy. This is when a small tube with a light at the end is used to take a look at your vagina and surrounding reproductive organs, as well as to take a biopsy.
Vulva cancer is diagnosed by cutting a small biopsy sample from the vulva.
You may also have blood tests to look at your cell count and ultrasound and CT scans to look at the size of the cancer.
If you have been told you have vaginal cancer or vulva cancer you will have treatment depending on the size and stage of it.
For vaginal cancer you may have surgery to remove affected sections of the vagina and sometimes the surrounding organs via a hysterectomy.
Surgery to remove vulva cancer involves removing the affected part of the vulva and surrounding tissue.
Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy
If you have cancer you will be put under the care of an Oncologist team. Chemotherapy uses medicine to destroy cancer cells and radiotherapy uses radiation to destroy the cells.
Visit Cancer Research UK for more information on Vaginal Cancer
Visit Cancer Research UK for more information on Vulva Cancer
How do I book a consultation?
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