Cancer of the labia: causes, symptoms and treatment of this disease

Cancer of the external female genital organs is one of the rare cancer. According to statistics, it accounts for about 3% of all diagnosed malignant tumors. However, the rarity of the disease does not reduce its danger. Cancer of the labia can quickly spread throughout the body, leading to death.

Malignant pathology of the labia is recorded mostly in older women. Two-thirds of patients with this diagnosis over the age of 60 — 70 years. Such statistics is due to the fact that women at this age begin to neglect regular preventive medical examinations worse than watching the state of the reproductive organs, and the detection of the symptoms of the disease rarely seek medical attention. That is why vulvar cancer is detected at late stages when the disease is accompanied with unbearable pain, which greatly complicates the treatment and worsens the prognoses for recovery.

Causes of cancer of the external female genitalia

Experts believe the main reason of oncological lesions of the labia age-related changes in the cells of the mucous membrane of the vulva. Of course, cancer does not develop in every woman who entered into a difficult period of menopause. Most often the disease is found in countries with low living standards and poor social strata. Malignant degeneration of the tissue occurs against the background of the General deterioration of the body, it is contributed to various factors:

  • immunosuppression;
  • poor nutrition;
  • Smoking, alcoholism;
  • the impact on the female body of toxic substances (for example, in connection with the work on harmful manufacture);
  • lack of personal hygiene;
  • the use of personal hygiene is of poor quality, containing carcinogenic substances;
  • failure to comply with hygiene of sex, sexual life, frequent change of partners;
  • sexually transmitted infectious diseases, including undertreated;
  • chronic systemic inflammatory disease;
  • local inflammatory processes in the genital organs, accompanied by itching and histological change of cell structure;
  • the human papillomavirus, causing cell mutation;
  • skin disease (condyloma, leukoplakia, sclerosing zoster, squamous cell hyperplasia);
  • cancerous lesions in other organs, the skin (including cured);
  • metabolic disorders (diabetes, obesity), chronic hypertension;
  • long stay in direct sunlight;
  • genetic predisposition to cancer.
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Symptoms and diagnosis

A malignant tumor never appears in a vacuum. Its development is preceded by pathological changes called «precancerous». Regularly monitoring the state of their genitals, a woman definitely notices them. Access to a doctor in the early stages of the disease contributes to a rapid and successful treatment of the disease. Otherwise, the cancer spreads throughout the body.

The first symptoms of the pathology:

  • itching and burning sensation in the crotch area;
  • kraurosis – age-related changes of the mucosa of the genital organs: dryness, appearance of wrinkles;
  • the formation of small different color of warts, condylomas, and nodules;
  • leukoplakia – light spot containing cells atypical structure;
  • unhealed sores;
  • General deterioration, weight loss, subfebrile body temperature.

Depending on the structure distinguish exophytic (raised above the skin nodules), endophytic (deep sores), and diffuse tumors.

Cancer of the labia is progressing rapidly, the tumor increases in size, necrotic foci are formed, the process affects the surrounding tissues. Spread throughout the body promotes a rich blood supply and good drainage in this area. Cancerous lymph nodes are condensed and become inflamed. Late stages are accompanied by severe pain, preventing the administration of natural needs and even walking. Pain can appear in the early stages if the tumor damaged linen or compresses well innervated clitoris.

The stage of the disease:

  • Stage 1 – small tumors (2 cm) localized on the labia;
  • Stage 2 – the tumor increased in size;
  • Stage 3 – the spread of the disease on the urethra or anus, metastasis to regional lymph nodes;
  • Stage 4 – excessive growth of tumors; distant metastases.
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Diagnosis begins with a thorough external examination of the genital mucosa; the doctor uses a magnifying glass and gynecological mirror. This step determines the consistency and mobility of the tumor, extent of disease, presence or absence of patient pain. Smears and scrapings from the mucous sent to cytological analysis for the detection of atypical cell structures. To confirm the diagnosis and to obtain additional data (metastasis, status of the lymph nodes) are x-ray, ultrasound, lymphography and other treatments.

Treatment of cancer of the labia

The main method of dealing with cancer affects the outer female genitals is still surgery, during which removes the tumor itself, surrounding tissue and nearby lymph nodes. The extent of resection is determined by the surgeon depending on the progress of the disease. It is possible to conduct a total of vulvectomy, that is, the removal of the external female genitals along with the subcutaneous adipose tissue.

However, given the advanced age of most patients, the condition of their cardiovascular system, associated disease, it is not always possible to conduct the operation. In this case, a combination of medications and radiotherapy.

Tumors of the genital organs in General respond well to radiation, in some cases, their complete resorption.

Chemotherapy is the appointment of cytotoxic agents – substances that prevent mitotic cell division. Postoperative drug therapy prevents relapses.

You need a constant monitoring of the patient with diagnosed cancer of the vulva.

The prognosis of malignant tumors of the labia

In the early stages of the disease in a timely start of appropriate treatment the prognosis for the patient is favorable. Increased mortality among patients with cancer of the labia is mainly due to their middle to old age when cancer is usually accompanied with other diseases.

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If cancer spread through the body, the disease has reached 3 — 4 stage, the prognosis is poor. Only 7 — 10% of cases lead to successful treatment.


Prevention of cancer pathology (and most other disease) is a healthy lifestyle, balanced diet, avoiding harmful habits (particularly Smoking). Sufficient physical activity helps to maintain the body in good shape, ensure the normal blood supply and lymph flow in all systems.

Woman at any age should carefully observe personal and sexual hygiene, to regularly visit the gynecologist to prevent, time to end cure any genital inflammatory diseases.

Be careful about your health!