It's not clear what causes vulvar cancer. In general, doctors know that cancer begins when a cell develops mutations in its DNA. The mutations allow the cell to grow and divide rapidly. The cell and its offspring go on living when other normal cells would die. The accumulating cells form a tumor that may be cancerous, invading nearby tissue and spreading to other parts of the body.

Types of vulvar cancer

The type of cell in which vulvar cancer begins helps your doctor plan the most effective treatment plan. The most common types of vulvar cancer include:

  • Vulvar squamous cell carcinoma. This cancer begins in the thin, flat cells that line the surface of the vulva. Most vulvar cancers are squamous cell carcinomas.
  • Vulvar melanoma. This cancer begins in the pigment-producing cells found in the skin of the vulva.
Sep. 12, 2012

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