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Vulvar Cancer

Cancer of the vulva affects the external female genital organs, including the clitoris, vaginal lips and the opening to the vagina.

Surgery for Vulvar Cancer

The most common vulvar cancer treatment is surgery. The goal is always to remove the cancer without any loss of the woman's sexual function. One of the following types of surgery may be done:

  • Wide local excision that removes the cancer and a margin of healthy tissue.
  • Radical local excision to remove the cancer and a large amount of normal tissue around it.
  • Vulvectomy to remove part or all of the vulva.
  • Pelvic exenteration to remove the cervix, vagina, ovaries, lower colon, rectum, bladder and nearby lymph nodes.

Radiation Therapy for Vulvar Cancer

Even if the surgeon removes all the cancer visible at the time of surgery, some patients may be given further vulvar cancer treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy after surgery. This further treatment helps kill any remaining cancer cells. Learn more about radiation therapy at Memorial Hermann.