The vulvar cancer treatment or combination of treatments recommended for a specific patient will depend on several factors that are unique to her, including the stage of her cancer at the time of the diagnosis as well as her age, overall health and preferences. To make the best treatment decisions, it’s important for a patient to thoroughly discuss all appropriate options, including their benefits, risks and potential side effects, with a trusted physician who can answer her questions and make individualized recommendations.
Common treatment options for vulvar cancer
The three main vulvar cancer treatment options are surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Additionally, precancerous conditions of the vulva, such as vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia, can sometimes be treated topically.
Surgery is typically the main treatment for vulvar cancer, with the goal being to remove as much of the cancer as possible, while preserving the function and appearance of the vulva. Depending on how much tissue needs to be removed from the vulva, different surgical options can be used, including laser surgery, excision, vulvectomy and pelvic exenteration. Lymph node surgery may also be needed if the cancer spreads to the nearby lymph nodes in the groin.
Radiation therapy may be used for advanced vulvar cancer to help shrink the tumor so that it can be surgically removed. Radiation therapy may also be used after surgical removal of a tumor to ensure any cancer cells that might have been left behind are destroyed. Radiation therapy is sometimes used along with chemotherapy as the primary treatment for patients who are not able to have surgery.
Chemotherapy involves delivery of anti-cancer medication, which can be done intravenously, orally or sometimes topically. Chemo is sometimes used along with radiation therapy prior to surgery to help reduce the size of a tumor. In other cases, chemotherapy might be used for vulvar cancers that have recurred or metastasized to other parts of the body.
Why choose Moffitt for vulvar cancer treatment?
At Moffitt Cancer Center’s gynecological clinic, each patient’s vulvar cancer treatment plan is developed and overseen by a multispecialty team of experts that meets weekly to ensure the best possible care. These specialists include fellowship-trained surgeons, gynecologists, gynecologic oncologists, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, pathologists, nurses, rehabilitation specialists and other health care professionals, all of whom are highly experienced in their respective disciplines. Our evidence-based team approach, complemented by our dedicated research efforts, is continually creating hope, improving the outcomes and enhancing the lives of cancer patients.
To learn more about the vulvar cancer treatment options available at Moffitt, including promising new therapies that are currently available only through our clinical trials, call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form. No referrals are needed to consult with our gynecologic experts.