Vulval cancer occurs when abnormal cells in the tissues of the vulva grow in an uncontrolled way. About 300 Australian women are diagnosed with vulval cancer each year. It most commonly affects women who have gone through menopause, however vulval cancer can also occur in younger women.

  • An estimated 433 women will be diagnosed with vulvar cancer in Australia in 2021;
  • In 2013–2017, females diagnosed with vulvar cancer had a 73% chance of surviving for five years.


    As a precaution, consult your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.

    Known risk factors

    Diagnosis & treatment

    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).

    Detailed information on diagnosis and treatment of vulval cancer can be found at the Cancer Australia website.


    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.

    Source: Cancer Australia 2020