Vulvar Cancer: Symptoms and Signs

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 01/2021

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about body changes and other things that can signal a problem that may need medical care. Use the menu to see other pages.

People with vulvar cancer may experience the following symptoms or signs. A symptom is something that only the person experiencing it can identify and describe, such as fatigue, nausea, or pain. A sign is something that other people can identify and measure, such as a fever, rash, or an elevated pulse. Together, signs and symptoms can help describe a medical problem. Sometimes, people with vulvar cancer do not have any of the signs and symptoms described below. Or, the cause of a symptom or sign may be a medical condition that is not cancer.

  • A lump or growth in or on the vulvar area or groin (an enlarged lymph node)

  • A patch of skin that is differently textured or colored than the rest of the vulvar area

  • Persistent itching, pain, soreness, or burning in the vulvar area

  • Painful urination

  • Bleeding or discharge that is not menstrual blood

  • An ulcer, open wound, or cut that persists for more than 1 month

  • A change in the appearance of an existing mole (this symptom is for vulvar melanoma specifically)

  • Wart-like growths that are similar to genital warts

If you are concerned about any changes you experience, please talk with your doctor. Your doctor will ask how long and how often you’ve been experiencing any symptom, in addition to other questions. This is to help figure out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis.

If cancer is diagnosed, relieving symptoms remains an important part of cancer care and treatment. This may be called palliative care or supportive care. It is often started soon after diagnosis and continued throughout treatment. Be sure to talk with your health care team about the symptoms you experience, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.

The next section in this guide is Diagnosis. It explains what tests may be needed to learn more about the cause of the symptoms. Use the menu to choose different section to read in this guide.