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What is Vulvar Cancer?

Vulvar cancer is the term describing any cancer which affects the vulva, the external genital area in women.  It is most common among women over 65. However, vulvar cancer rates are increasing among women under 45, seemingly due to links with HPV (human papilloma virus) and smoking.  While this cancer has extremely high survival rates when caught early, vulvar cancer diagnoses are often delayed by 1 to 2 years due to misdiagnoses and patient's failure to report symptoms. Vulvar self-exams (VSE) can help women to observe symptoms of both cancer and benign disorders in their early stages. In fact, over the past two decades there have been several medical reports urging healthcare providers to teach women about VSE.  This has yet to become a mainstream practice, however, and most women have never heard about this method of early detection. The silence surrounding our vulvar health needs to be broken so that women can have increased access to their complete healthcare needs.

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Created: 8/27/2001  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.
Reviewed: 6/30/2003  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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