Abnormal cells develop in the surface layers of the skin covering the vulva. This may take many years. Some doctors call it pre cancer although many women with VIN will not develop cancer. Intraepithelial - the abnormal cells are contained within the top layer of skin epidermis that covers the vulva. This is how doctors used to classify vulval intraepithelial neoplasia.
Vulval cancer is when abnormal cells in the vulva start to divide and grow in an uncontrolled way. The vulva includes two pairs of lips. These are the outer pair of lips, called the labia majora and the inner pair of lips called the labia minora. At the front of the vulva is the small organ called the clitoris, which helps a woman reach a sexual climax. The area of skin between the vagina and the anus is called the perineum. They make a fluid, which acts as a lubricant during sexual intercourse. The female reproductive system includes a number of parts.
Back to Health A to Z. The condition is rare in women under 50 who have not yet gone through the menopause. You may be able to reduce your risk of vulval cancer by stopping smoking and taking steps to reduce the chances of picking up an HPV infection. The main treatment for vulval cancer is surgery to remove the cancerous tissue from the vulva and any lymph nodes containing cancerous cells.
Professional Reference articles are designed for health professionals to use. You may find the Vulval Cancer article more useful, or one of our other health articles. NICE has issued rapid update guidelines in relation to many of these. This guidance is changing frequently. Vulval cancer is a very rare disease and, on average, a GP will only see a new case once every seven years.