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Vulvar Cancer Prevention

Vulvar Cancer Screening

Cancer screening exams are important medical tests done when you’re at risk but don’t have symptoms. They help find cancer at its earliest stage, when the chances for successful treatment are highest.

Unfortunately, no standardized screening tests have been shown to improve vulvar cancer outcomes. However, having regular pelvic exams and knowing the signs of vulvar cancer greatly improve the chances of early detection and successful treatment.

Vulvar Cancer Risk Factors

Anything that increases your chance of getting vulvar cancer is a risk factor. These include:

  • Age:  More than half of women who develop vulvar cancer are over 70 years old
  • HPV (human papilloma virus)
  • Smoking tobacco. Read more about MD Anderson’s smoking cessation clinical trials.
  • HIV (human immunodeficiency virus)
  • Vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN), a precancerous condition usually caused by HPV
  • Cervical cancer
  • Melanoma or atypical moles on other parts of the body
  • Family history of melanoma

Not everyone with risk factors gets vulvar cancer. However, if you have risk factors, it’s a good idea to discuss them with your health care provider. 

Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.

Why Choose MD Anderson?

  • High level of expertise in vulvar cancer
  • Less-invasive vulvar cancer surgery options, including sentinel node biopsy
  • Newest imaging technologies to detect vulvar cancer spread
  • Skilled reconstructive surgeons use advanced surgical techniques
  • Combined therapies for advanced vulvar cancer
  • Range of clinical trials of new vulvar cancer treatments

Vulvar Cancer Knowledge Center

Treatment at MD Anderson

Vulvar cancer is treated in our:

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Vulvar Cancer Prevention

You can lower your risk of vulvar cancer by not getting HPV. To avoid HPV infection:

  • Wait until you are older to have sex and limit your number of sexual partners
  • Use condoms during sex
  • Don’t smoke
  • Avoid sex with people with a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or who have had multiple sexual partners
  • Get an HPV vaccine: Gardasil® and Cervarix® help protect against certain types of HPV. But if you have HPV, they do not cure it. Read more about MD Anderson’s HPV test recommendations.

Research shows that many cancers can be prevented. Visit the Prevention section of our website to find out steps you can take to avoid cancer.


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center