A vulvar cancer diagnosis typically involves several steps. Generally, a physician will ask a woman to discuss her symptoms, and then will take a complete medical history and perform a complete physical examination, including a visual and manual inspection of her pelvic region. The physician can examine and feel the woman’s vulvar region, uterus, ovaries, vagina, fallopian tubes, bladder and rectum to detect skin changes and abnormalities. If vulvar cancer is suspected, the physician may then order one or more diagnostic tests.
Some of the tests and procedures that can be used to make a vulvar cancer diagnosis include:
- Colposcopy – A physician uses a special magnifying device to closely inspect abnormal areas of a woman’s vulva.
- Endoscopy – A physician inserts a thin, lighted tube through a woman’s mouth or vagina to view the inside of her body.
- Biopsy – To determine whether an area of suspicious skin on a woman’s vulva is cancer, a physician may remove a small sample of skin or lymph nodes for a pathologist to evaluate under a microscope.
- Imaging – X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans and positron emission tomography (PET) scans can provide detailed pictures of the organs and tissues inside a woman’s body, which can help a physician to assess any abnormalities.
At Moffitt Cancer Center, our scientists and clinicians are working continually to advance the knowledge base about vulvar cancer diagnosis and treatment. Nationally recognized for our extensive research efforts and robust clinical trials, Moffitt has been designated a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute. Our goal is to translate each groundbreaking discovery we make into tangible enhancements in patient care as soon as possible. As a result of this commitment, our patient outcomes consistently outrank national averages, and our patients enjoy a higher quality of life.