Approximately 150 women are diagnosed with vulval cancer every year in Australia. Elderly patients with a history of other vulval skin disorders or younger patients exposed to the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) are at risk of developing vulval cancer.

Treatment includes surgical removal of the involved vulval skin sometimes requiring plastic surgery to cover the skin defects. Vulval cancer may spread to the lymph nodes in the groin and therefore they need surgical exploration as well. Selected patients require radiotherapy to the vulva, the groin or both. Survival of vulval cancer is generally good, but the side effects from treatment are significant (wound break down, lymphoedema).

Current research focuses on new techniques with which we aim to diagnose lymphoedema earlier. The earlier lymphoedema is diagnosed, the more successful treatment will be.