Vulvar cancer is one of the more rare types of cancer women can develop. This type of cancer affects the external female genitalia, including the vaginal lips, the vaginal opening, and the clitoris. Cancer in the vulva often starts out as vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN) or dysplasia, which indicates the growth of precancerous cells on the skin on the vulva. Over a long period of time, usually several years, VIN can develop into vulvar cancer.
There are some vulvar cancer pictures online that indicate the development of the disease. In most cases of vulvar cancer, the disease affects the outer vaginal lips. The clitoris and the inner vaginal lips can also be affected by cancer cells, although these cases are rare. Often, vulvar cancer manifests itself in lesions or lumps in the affected area. Slow-healing cuts and sores in the area are also possible indicators of the development of vulvar cancer.
Unexpected vaginal bleeding or discharge is another symptom of vulvar cancer. Other primary symptoms of vulvar cancer include itching and irritation in the vaginal area. Often, these itching or burning sensations don’t subside even after professional treatment. In extreme cases, patients feel tenderness, soreness, or pain in the vulvar area. When these are located in the vulvar area, birthmarks or moles that change in size or color can also potentially indicate vulvar cancer.
In many cases, women with vulvar cancer aren’t diagnosed early. Early detection and treatment, especially at the VIN stage, is vital in the cancer’s treatment and cure. That’s why it’s important for women to immediately consult a gynecologist when these symptoms are present. There are also a few risk factors for vulvar cancer. Older women and women who are suffering from human papillomavirus infections are at risk for the disease.
Vulvar cancer can be detected using a variety of tests, the most basic of which are a physical exam and a pelvic exam. A pelvic exam helps in determining any abnormal growths in the vagina, uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. Vulvar cancer pictures may also be taken through an ultrasound, to pinpoint any fluid-filled cysts or tumors. Aside from these tests, a biopsy may also be performed; during this procedure, cells and tissues from the vulva are removed for examination under a microscope.
Once diagnosed, vulvar cancer can be classified into various types. Most cases of vulvar cancer are caused by a disease called squamous cell carcinoma. This type of vulvar cancer often manifests in lesions on the skin on the vulva, especially in the labia majora, as squamous cells make up most of the skin cells on the body. Vulvar cancer caused by squamous cell carcinoma usually spreads through the lymph system, often spreading to the mons and the upper vulva. Tumors may also spread to the nearby organs such as the rectum.
Vulvar cancer pictures rarely depict basal cell carcinoma, which most often affects elderly women. This type of vulvar cancer is identified through the presence of slow-growing lesions in the vulvar area. For both types of cancer, the recommended treatment is surgery. In some cases, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are also used.
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