Risks include exposure to human papillomavirus (HPV) and smoking, having a skin condition involving the vulva. Lichen sclerosis, which causes the vulvar skin to become thin and itchy, increases the risk of vulvar cancer, having a weakened immune system (HIV, organ transplant), having a history of precancerous conditions of the vulva).
Symptoms are vulvar cancer are itching that does not go away, pain and tenderness, bleeding that is not from menstruation, skin changes, such as color changes or thickening, a lump, wart like bumps or an open sore (ulcer).
Reduce your risk of sexually transmitted infections
To reduce your risk of vulvar cancer, reduce your risk of the sexually transmitted infection HPV:
Use a condom every time you have sex. Condoms may reduce your risk of contracting HPV but cannot fully protect against it.
Get the HPV vaccine. Children and young adults may consider the HPV vaccine, which protects against the strains of the virus that are thought to cause the most cases of vulvar cancer.