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Treatment of Vulvar Melanoma

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Vulvar melanoma starts on the skin of the vulva. A partial vulvectomy (surgery to remove the tumor and a rim of healthy tissue around it), along with lymph node removal is the usual treatment for melanoma on the vulva. In some cases, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and/or immunotherapy may also be used. These decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.

Treatment options depend on:

  • How deep the melanoma is
  • Where it is on the skin of the vulva
  • Whether it's ulcerated (an open sore)
  • Spread to lymph nodes

The cancer stage and the woman's age and personal preferences are also key.

If the melanoma has spread outside the vulva, other treatments may be needed. More on treatment of vulvar melanoma can be found in Melanoma Skin Cancer.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as editors and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Campaner AB, Fernandes GL, Cardosa FA, Veasey JV. Vulvar melanoma: relevant aspects in therapeutic management. An Bras Dermatol. 2017;92(3):398-400.

Saito T, Tabata T, Ikushima H, et al. Japan Society of Gynecologic Oncology guidelines 2015 for the treatment of vulvar cancer and vaginal cancer.  Int J Clin Oncol. 2017 Nov 20.

Last Revised: January 16, 2018

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