Vulvar Cancer

Vulvar cancer is a rare type of cancer that forms in a woman’s external genital organs. It most often forms on the outer lips of the vagina or on the labia, the folds of skin outside the vagina. It also may form on the clitoris. This cancer usually grows slowly over several years, and there are at least four types of vulvar cancer. Most are squamous cell cancers, which start in skin cells. Human papillomavirus infection, a history of genital warts, and age can increase the risk, as can nicotine use and a history of cervical or vaginal cancer.


At the UAB Medicine Women’s Cancer Program, you receive care in the most advanced facilities from board-certified gynecologic oncologists trained in surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Our experts design customized treatment plans for each patient’s individual needs and use the latest technology to screen for and treat all types of women’s reproductive cancers.

Mindful of the stress that comes with a potential cancer diagnosis, we are committed to rapid evaluation of suspected gynecologic malignancies. We pledge to see you within 72 hours of being called and commit to implementing a surgical and treatment plan within a week after that initial visit.

Your physicians at UAB Medicine are national and international leaders in gynecologic cancer and treat more gynecologic cancer patients in Alabama than any other group. Our modern clinical facilities include an embedded chemo-infusion unit. You will have access to the full range of the latest minimally invasive and open surgical techniques, including robotic surgery and complex radical surgery.

UAB Medicine is nationally renowned for our care of patients with women’s cancers. We have been recognized as one of the leading gynecologic oncology research divisions in the world and were one of five institutions to be awarded a Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in ovarian cancer by the NIH. We currently partner with Johns Hopkins University in a cervical cancer SPORE. We are dedicated to improving treatments and ultimately finding a cure for these cancers.

Our physicians have access to a large portfolio of clinical trials, which gives many patients the opportunity to receive pioneering treatments not available at other medical centers. Through our Gynecologic Cancer Risk Assessment clinic, we also offer comprehensive risk assessments and prevention strategies for breast, ovarian, and uterine cancer, arming women with knowledge to make informed decisions about their cancer risk and care.








Ovarian Removal

Ovarian Removal (oophorectomy) is a treatment for cancer or to prevent cancer, remove a large ovarian cyst, remove an abscess, or treat endometriosis. Surgery may take out a portion of an ovary, an entire ovary (unilateral oophorectomy), or both ovaries (bilateral oophorectomy). If both are removed, menstruation stops and a woman cannot have children. The procedure usually is performed by laparoscopy, involving a few small abdominal incisions, including one in the belly button with the patient under spinal or general anesthesia. Surgery could last 45 to 90 minutes. Most laparoscopic patients will not spend the night in the hospital. Patients who have had ovaries removed by open surgery (laparotomy) may have a hospital stay of one to three days. Hormone replacement therapy may be needed if both ovaries were removed.


UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials for the diagnosis and treatment of vulvar cancer. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.

View Clinical Trials