Symptoms of vulval cancer

The most common symptoms of vulval cancer are:

  • itching, burning or soreness of the vulva that does not go away
  • a lump, swelling or wart-like growth on the vulva
  • thickened, raised, red, white or dark patches on the skin of the vulva
  • bleeding, or a blood-stained vaginal discharge, that is not related to periods
  • burning pain when passing urine
  • tenderness or pain in the area of the vulva
  • a sore or ulcerated area on the vulva
  • a mole on the vulva that changes shape or colour
  • a lump in the groin.

All of these symptoms can happen with conditions other than cancer, but it is always important to get them checked by your GP.

Vulval cancer can take many years to develop. It usually starts with pre-cancerous cells that change slowly over several years into cancerous cells. As with other cancers, vulval cancer is easier to treat and cure if it is diagnosed at an early stage.

Vulva cancer

Gail sitting looking down Gail on diagnosis

'The best thing you can do is tell people to see their nurse.'

Back to Understanding vulval cancer

What is vulval cancer?

There are more than 200 different kinds of cancer, each with its own name and treatment.

The vulva

The vulva is the area of skin between a woman’s legs.

Types of vulval cancer

Vulval cancer is very rare. There are over 200 different types of vulval cancer. The most common type of vulval cancer is called squamous cell carcinoma.

Why do cancers come back?

Sometimes, tiny cancer cells are left behind after cancer treatment. These can divide to form a new tumour.