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What is vulval cancer?

The vulva is the area between your legs that make up the sex organs that are outside your body.

Please note: Some advice, such as visiting a GP face-to-face, may not be relevant while COVID-19 social distancing measures are in place


The vulva is made up of:

  • the lips around the vagina
  • the clitoris
  • two small glands on each side of the vagina.

Vulval cancer is when cells anywhere on the vulva divide and grow in an abnormal way.

In the UK, 1,300 people are diagnosed with vulval cancer each year.

What are the symptoms?

Commons signs of vulval cancer include:

  • an itch in your vulva that doesn’t go away
  • pain or tenderness in the vulva
  • raised and thick areas of skin on the vulva that can be red, white or dark
  • a lump, like a wart on the vulva
  • bleeding from the vulva or blood-stained vaginal discharge between periods
  • an open sore in the vulva
  • a burning pain when weeing
  • a mole on the vulva that changes shape or colour.

Most people who get vulval cancer are women over the age of 65.

When should I see a GP?

You should see a GP if you notice any of these symptoms or any changes in your vulva. It’s unlikely that these are because of cancer, but it’s good to be sure.

What treatments are available?

Surgery can remove cancerous tissue from your vulva. You could also have radiotherapy (using radiation to destroy cancer cells) or chemotherapy (using medicine to kill cancer cells) or both.

Can I die from vulval cancer?

How vulval cancer affects you depends on many things, including:

  • how big the cancer was when it was diagnosed
  • whether the cancer has spread
  • the types of cells where the cancer starts
  • your age and general health.

Find out more about vulval cancer including symptoms, treatment and advice:

Visit the NHS website