There are several vulvar cancer causes you should know about. Vulvar cancer is attacking the vulva area. It is the part of the female external sexual organs which includes the lips of the vagina (labia minora and labia majora), clitoris, and Bartholin’s glands.
Table of Contents
- 1 Vulvar Cancer Causes
- 2 Vulva Cancer Diagnosis
Vulvar Cancer Causes
In general, the cause of cancer is still not known, including vulva cancer. Nevertheless, the following factors can trigger the onset of vulvar cancer.
Smoking not only gives respiratory problems and pregnancy but also increases the risk of vulvar cancer. It is because carcinogens in cigarettes make the immune system more vulnerable and cannot fight human papillomavirus (HPV) infections that cause vulvar cancer.
2. Age Increase
The risk of vulvar cancer generally increases at the age of more than 65 years or those who are at menopause. Cancer sufferers rarely occur in women under the age of 50 years or those who have not yet experienced menopause.
3. Exposed to HPV Infection
HPV is a sexually transmitted disease found in sexually active women. Generally, HPV infection can subside on its own. However, in some cases, infected cells can mutate and develop into cancer cells.
4. Infected with HIV
Infected with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and it weakens the immune system and makes sufferers vulnerable to HPV infection.
5. Skin Disorders in the Vulva Area
Suffer from skin disorders in the vulva area, such as Lichen Sclerosus.
6. Vulvar Intraepithelial Neoplasia
Vulvar Intraepithelial Neoplasia (VIN) is a woman who has been in a vulvar precancerous condition, which can develop into vulvar cancer. VIN is a condition when cells undergo changes that do not lead to cancer.
In most cases, this condition can go away on its own. However, this can also develop into cancer cells.
It’s important to know that not having risk factors doesn’t mean you can’t get vulva cancer. For this reason, you need to know the symptoms of vulvar cancer.
You should immediately consult a doctor if you experience itching on the vulva that does not heal, pain, and bleeding not due to menstruation.
You should also pay attention to changes in vulva skin such as discoloration or thickening. Also check for lumps such as small warts that can enlarge, and sores like ulcers on the vulva that do not heal.
Vulva Cancer Diagnosis
To diagnose vulvar cancer, the doctor will ask for a detailed history of symptoms and look for associated risk factors. Then, the doctor performs a physical examination of the genital area, especially on the vulva.
Some supporting examination procedures that can help in diagnosing vulvar cancer are as follows:
1. Biopsy Procedure
The doctor will take a small vulva tissue portion as a sample to be examined under a microscope. The aim is to find out whether there are signs of cancer cells. During the biopsy procedure, the area will be anesthetized locally. The doctor will use a scalpel or other special cutting tool to remove the suspicious area.
2. Imaging Examination
Doctors use imaging examination procedures to find out whether cancer has spread to the tissues around the pelvis or distant places. Imaging examinations can include chest X-ray, CT scan, MRI and PET scan.
If there are wounds that do not heal or abnormalities in the skin around the genitals, immediately discuss with your doctor. You also need to know the vulvar cancer causes so you can be more careful.