Vulvar Cancer Diagnosis
There is no specific screening test for vulvar caner. The physician can do a careful evaluation of the vulva during gynecological exam searching for cancer signs or precancerous lesions.
The physical examination can reveal certain indications but more advanced procedures are needed to confirm the diagnosis. For instance, it is necessary to perform a biopsy independently of the clinical signs presenting the patient. The diagnosis is confirmed by the biopsy, sampling and analysis of a tissue sample under microscope, which brings out the presence of cancer cells in the vulva.
Vulvar Cancer Survival and Stages
As it is the case for all malignant tumors (and other diseases), vulvar cancer requires early detection to prevent it from reaching advanced stages. Indeed, treatment is easier and more effective at the beginning when there is no metastasis: cancer cells migrate away from the original site to distant tissues or organs.
Some cancers diagnosed at an early stage can be completely eliminated. Otherwise, after treatment, the five years survival rate will be about 65%, depending on the severity of the tumor and lifestyle of the patient.
Here are common stages of evolution of vulvar cancer according to the international classification:
• Stage I – the tumor is less than 2 cm and has not affected any lymph node.
• Stage II – at this stage the tumor measures 2 to 4 cm without affecting lymph nodes.
• Stage III – this stage is characterized by the presence of more or less extensive damage to the neighboring structures of the vulva and affection of lymph nodes.
• Stage IV – at this advanced stage, there is presence of extensive damage to the surrounding structures in the vulva as well affection to the lymph nodes. There may be also extensive damage to the lining of the urethra, bladder, anus and rectum. Presence of remote metastatic cancers is also possible.