Vulvar Cancer

Cancer of the vulva is a rare tumor with the most recent cancer statistics reporting that approximately 4,000 women in the United States are afflicted annually. It forms in a woman’s external genitalia. The vulva includes the inner and outer lips of the vagina, the clitoris, and the opening of the vagina and its glands.

Fortunately, vulvar cancer is highly curable if detected at an early stage; however, treatment can have significant adverse effects on body image, sexual function, as well as bladder and rectal function. Lower extremity lymphedema, a form of chronic swelling which results from the disruption of lymphatic drainage in the groin, is a long-term complication and is, for the most part, irreversible.

Protection from infection with the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), including an HPV vaccination, reduces the risk of vulvar cancer. Examination of the vulva for changes by a woman at home or by her gynecologist during her annual pelvic examination can lead to the detection of pre-invasive disease or early vulvar cancer. Suspicious or unexplained changes on the vulva should be biopsied.

The Foundation offers educational materials that explore this in more depth.

Spotlight

Visit the Sisterhood of Survivorship page to read “Dena’s Story” — by a vulvar cancer survivor who has shared her story and wise words, and channeled her energy into her National Race to End Women’s Cancer team.

Awareness

The CDC recently announced that fewer than half of American children are given the HPV vaccination.

Research

As of the July 23 deadline, 55 research abstracts were submitted in hopes of receiving one of only 6 grants from the Foundation. This points to a need for more funding so that the Foundation may award grants to every deserving applicant.

Education

The Gynecologic Cancer Global Health Forum will be Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014 in D.C.. For more information on educational events and courses, click here.