Cancer of the vulva: 2021 update

Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2021 Oct;155 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):7-18. doi: 10.1002/ijgo.13881.


Vulvar cancer is an uncommon gynecological malignancy primarily affecting postmenopausal women. There is no specific screening and the most effective strategy to reduce vulvar cancer incidence is the opportune treatment of predisposing and preneoplastic lesions associated with its development. While vulvar cancer may be asymptomatic, most women present with vulvar pruritus or pain, or have noticed a lump or ulcer. Therefore, any suspicious vulvar lesion should be biopsied to exclude invasion. Once established, the most common subtype is squamous cell carcinoma. Treatment of vulvar cancer depends primarily on histology and surgical staging. Treatment is predominantly surgical, particularly for squamous cell carcinoma, although concurrent chemoradiation is an effective alternative, particularly for advanced tumors. Management should be individualized and carried out by a multidisciplinary team in a cancer center experienced in the treatment of these tumors.

Keywords: FIGO Cancer Report; cancer staging; chemotherapy; diagnostic imaging; radiotherapy; risk factors; surgery; therapy; vulvar cancer; vulvar neoplasms.

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell* / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell* / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell* / therapy
  • Chemoradiotherapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Vulva / pathology
  • Vulvar Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Vulvar Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Vulvar Neoplasms* / therapy