"The aim of these modern radiation techniques is to spare as much normal tissue as possible to reduce side effects."



You will need a biopsy to diagnose.



Treatment depends upon:

  • The type of vulvar cancer you have
  • The stage of your cancer
  • The part of your vulva affected
  • Any previous treatment you might have already had
  • Your general health

It can vary from surgery to remove the abnormal area with or without removing the lymph gland. Advanced cancer where there is spread to lymph glands and other parts may need radiotherapy with or without chemotherapy or only chemotherapy for very advanced cancers.

We perform sentinel nodes (inject a radio nucleotide dye at the tumour site and look for the first drainage lymph nodes) for early vulvar cancers to prevent the morbidity related to resection of all groin nodes.


Radiotherapy is directed to the site of the primary lesion as well as to the lymph node bearing region in the groin and pelvis. The treatment is delivered over 6 -7 weeks and is usually combined with chemotherapy.

Treatment may be administered using either photon-based radiation in a RadixactTomotherapy unit or protons on the Proteus Plus treatment unit. The aim of these modern radiation techniques is to spare as much normal tissue as possible to reduce side effects. Sparing the intestines reduces the risk of diarrhoea in the short term and narrowing of the bowel and malabsorption in the long run. Similarly, reducing the bone marrow dose reduces the risk of developing low counts and improves the chances that a full dose of chemotherapy; this is especially relevant in elderly women. Proton therapy is able to spare these normal structures much more effectively than X-ray-based techniques and this is expected to reduce the probability of side effects and improve the tolerability of treatment.

Follow up

You are likely to see your specialist every 3-4 months for the first couple years and then every 6 monthly.


You may be more able to cope and make decisions if you have information about your type of cancer and its treatment. Information helps you to know what to expect. Cancer of the vulva and its treatment may cause physical changes in your body. These changes can be very difficult to cope with and may affect the way you feel about yourself. Such changes can affect your self-esteem and the way you relate to other people, especially close family and friends.

Cancer and sexuality

Having cancer and treatment sometimes causes physical changes to your sexual organs.

This can affect how you feel and react to having sex. This can be very confusing and difficult to cope with. It can sometimes make it very difficult to respond to your partner during sexual activity.

We all have times in our life when we do not feel too confident about ourselves or don't feel very sexual. It can be difficult to communicate with the people close to you. These feelings won't last forever. It's possible to work on changing this and finding new ways to communicate your feelings to your loved ones.

It may help to get to know how your body normally works, to help you understand how things might change if you have cancer.

Other Gynaecological Cancers