PreventionBy Mayo Clinic staff
Reduce your risk of sexually transmitted diseases
To reduce your risk of vulvar cancer, reduce your risk of sexually transmitted infections such as HPV and HIV. To reduce your risk of these diseases:
- Limit your number of sexual partners. The more sexual partners you have, the greater your risk of exposure to HPV.
- Use a condom every time you have sex. A condom can protect you from HIV transmission. Condoms may reduce your risk of contracting HPV but can't fully protect against it.
- Consider the HPV vaccine. Girls and young women may want to consider getting the HPV vaccine to protect against the strains of the virus that are thought to cause the most cases of vulvar cancer.
Ask your doctor about pelvic exams
Ask your doctor how often you should undergo pelvic exams. These exams allow your doctor to visually examine your vulva and manually examine your internal reproductive organs to check for abnormalities. Talk to your doctor about your risk factors for vulvar cancer and other pelvic cancers in order to determine the most appropriate screening exam schedule for you.
- Abeloff MD, et al. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-4/0/1709/0.html. Accessed Aug. 1, 2012.
- Lentz GM, et al. Comprehensive Gynecology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/linkTo?type=bookPage&isbn=978-0-323-06986-1&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-06986-1..C2009-0-48752-X--TOP. Accessed Aug. 1, 2012.
- Fuh KC, et al. Current management of vulvar cancer. Hematology/Oncology Clinics of North America. 2012;26:45.
- Carter JS, et al. Vulvar and vaginal cancer. Obstetrics & Gynecology Clinics of North America. 2012;39:213.
- Elkas JC, et al. Vulvar cancer: Staging, treatment and prognosis. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Aug. 1, 2012.
- Surgery for cancer of the vulva (vulvectomy). American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/TreatmentsandSideEffects/PhysicalSideEffects/SexualSideEffectsinWomen/SexualityfortheWoman/sexuality-for-women-with-cancer-vulvectomy. Accessed Aug. 1, 2012.
- Frequently asked questions. Gynecologic problems FAQ088. Disorders of the vulva. American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. http://www.acog.org/For_Patients. Accessed Aug. 1, 2012.
- Frequently asked questions. Gynecologic problems FAQ073. Human papillomavirus infection. American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. http://www.acog.org/For_Patients. Accessed Aug. 1, 2012.
- Edge SB, et al. AJCC Cancer Staging Manual. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: Springer; 2010:379.
- Gallenberg MM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 8, 2012.