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What are the symptoms?

Women with early vulvar cancer may have few obvious symptoms, but most women are diagnosed after a long history of vulvar symptoms. These may include:

  • itching, burning and soreness or pain in the vulva
  • a lump, sore, swelling or wart-like growth on the vulva
  • thickened, raised skin patches (may be red, white or dark brown)
  • a mole on the vulva that changes shape or colour
  • blood, pus or other discharge coming from an area of skin or a sore spot in the vulva, which may have an offensive or unusual smell or colour (not related to your menstrual period)
  • hard or swollen lymph nodes in the groin area.

Many women don’t look at their vulva, so they don’t know what is normal for them. The vulva can be difficult to see without a mirror, and some women feel uncomfortable examining their genitals. However, if you feel any pain in your genital area or notice any of these symptoms, visit your general practitioner (GP) for a check-up.