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Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

Symptoms

Common symptoms of vulvar cancer and VIN include

  • persistent itching or burning anywhere on the vulva

  • a red, pink, or white lump with a wart-like or raw surface

  • a white, rough area on the vulva

  • painful urination or bleeding

  • discharge not related to your period

  • a skin ulcer that lasts more than a month.

Signs of vulvar melanoma include a black or brown raised area, or a change in the size, shape, or color of a pre-existing mole.

Signs of a Bartholin's gland adenocarcinoma include a lump at the opening to the vagina. Having a lump doesn't mean you have cancer. It could be a common benign cyst. However, you should have your doctor examine the lump to make sure it is not cancerous.

A sore, red, scaly area on the vulva can be a sign of Paget's disease.

Some signs and symptoms of vulvar cancer can occur with noncancerous conditions, such as infection or trauma. Also, some noncancerous conditions may mimic vulvar cancer. If conservative treatment does not make these problems go away, you will need a biopsy to find out if they are cancerous.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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