Vulvar Cancer

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Treating Vulvar Cancer TOPICS

Treatment of vulvar melanoma

Treatment options depend on how deeply the melanoma has grown into the skin of the vulva. If the depth is less than 0.75 mm, partial vulvectomy removing 1 to 2 cm (up to about ¾ inch) of normal tissue (margins) is the usual treatment (see “Surgery for vulvar cancer”). If the cancer has grown in deeper, more tissue may need to be removed. Radical vulvectomy may rarely be used when the lesion extensively involves the vulva.

Often, lymph nodes in the groin will be sampled or a sentinel node biopsy procedure will be done to fully stage the cancer. The stage helps predict the outlook for survival and is needed to decide if other treatment is needed.

If the melanoma has spread outside the vulva, other treatments may be needed. These are discussed in our document Melanoma Skin Cancer.


Last Medical Review: 02/05/2013
Last Revised: 02/13/2014