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Vulvar Cancer - Article
ABSTRACT: Vulvar cancer was reported in 3,200 women in 1998, resulting in 800 deaths. Recent evidence suggests that vulvar cancer comprises two separate diseases. The first type may develop from vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia caused by human papillomavirus infection and is increasing in prevalence among young women. The second type, which more often afflicts older women, may develop from vulvar non-neoplastic epithelial disorders as a result of chronic inflammation (the itch-scratch-lichen sclerosus hypothesis). Although vulvar cancer is relatively uncommon, early detection remains crucial given its significant impact on sexuality. Diagnosis is based on histology; therefore, any suspicious lesions of the vulva must be biopsied. Excisional or punch biopsy can be performed in the physician's office. Clinicians must closely monitor suspicious lesions because delayed biopsy and diagnosis are common. Once diagnosed, vulvar cancer is staged using the TNM classification system. Treatment is surgical resection, with the goal being complete removal of the tumor. There has been a recent trend toward more conservative surgery to decrease psychosexual complications.
ABSTRACT: Vulvodynia is a problem most family physicians can expect to encounter. It is a syndrome of unexplained vulvar pain, frequently accompanied by physical disabilities, limitation of daily activities, sexual dysfunction and psychologic distress. The patient's vulvar pain usually has an acute onset and, in most cases, becomes a chronic problem lasting months to years. The pain is often described as burning or stinging, or a feeling of rawness or irritation. Vulvodynia may have multiple causes, with several subsets, including cyclic vulvovaginitis, vulvar vestibulitis syndrome, essential (dysesthetic) vulvodynia and vulvar dermatoses. Evaluation should include a thorough history and physical examination as well as cultures for bacteria and fungus, KOH microscopic examination and biopsy of any suspicious areas. Proper treatment mandates that the correct type of vulvodynia be identified. Depending on the specific diagnosis, treatment may include fluconazole, calcium citrate, tricyclic antidepressants, topical corticosteroids, physical therapy with biofeedback, surgery or laser therapy. Since vulvodynia is often a chronic condition, regular medical follow-up and referral to a support group are helpful for most patients.
Nonhealing Vulvar Ulcer - Photo Quiz