Know More About Vulvar Cancer
Vulvar cancer occurs on the outer skin surrounding the urethra, vagina, labia, and clitoris. It can occur among people of any age. It usually develops as a sore or lump in the area and often causes itching as well. It is most commonly observed in older adults and the treatment requires removal of the affected area along with some healthy cells or the removal of the entire vulva. The disease develops slowly over the years. Some precancerous lesions called vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia are observed at the initial stages.
- The doctors are aware of the fact that cancer begins when the normal cells undergo division uncontrollably due to certain mutations. The DNA instructs the cell to multiply and the accumulation ultimately leads to formation of lumps or tumors.
- With an increasing age and issues like smoking, the risk of vulvar cancer is increased. However, the average age of diagnosis for vulvar cancer is around 65.
- If an individual has been exposed to human papillomavirus (HIV) or a weakened immune system, the chances of developing vulvar cancer are enhanced. The low immunity system may be due to some treatments like organ transplant or infections like HIV.
- Some of the precancerous conditions like vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia also increase the risk of developing vulvar cancer. The doctor may remove the area of abnormal cells to treat the condition.
- Several skin conditions like lichen sclerosus increase the chances of getting hit with vulvar cancer. During this condition, the vulcar skin becomes itchy and thin.
Types of Vulvar Cancer
The vulvar melanoma occurs in the pigment producing cells of the vulva found in its skin.
Vulvar squamous cell carcinoma
As the name suggests, the tumor develops in the flat and thin squamous cells of the vulva.
It is a sub-type of squamous cell carcinoma that looks like a wart.
It is the cancer of connective tissue occurring beneath the skin.
This type of vulvar carcinoma begins in vulvar sweat glands or Bartholin’s glands. It is usually observed on the sides of the vaginal opening.
Signs and Symptoms
- Unavoidable itching
- Changes in skin color and thickening
- Pain and tenderness
- Bleeding not related to menstruation
- Ulcers, wart like bumps, or lumps
- Pelvic pain while urinating or having sexual intercourse
The various diagnosis methods are:
The doctor conducts a physical examination of the vulva to check anything uneven and abnormal.
Using a colposcope ( a magnifying instrument), the doctor takes a closer look at the affected area.
During the examination, the area from where the sample is to be taken is numbed using an anaesthetic. A special cutting tool is used to remove all or part of the suspicious area.
These include processes like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) scan, and X-rays. With such techniques, the detection of tumors can be easy. These tests give the doctor detailed images of the body organs and their functioning.
Side effects of the treatment
- The surgery for vulvar cancer can lead to issues like scarring, tingling sensation, numbness, unexplained hot or cold areas, leg and groin swelling, feelings similar to mild electric shocks, bowel, and bladder problems.
- Chemotherapy leads to health problems like loss of hair, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, issues in menstruation cycle like infertility, premature menopause, and fatigue.
- Radiation therapy can cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, temporary redness to blistering, anemia, skin changes, and issues with the wound site.
- The issues related to immunotherapy include weakness, dizziness, joint or muscle ache, headache, fatigue, etc. There could be swollen lymph nodes, shortness of breath, and rashes.
- Treatments like targeted drug therapy can lead to issues with wound healing, change in hair color, skin issues, mouth soreness, fatigue, and blood pressure.
The treatments that are available for handling retinoblastoma are:
The radiation acts as a powerful source of destroying the cancer cells. The protons or X-rays are used to aim at the cancer cells to limit their spread and kill them.
Chemotherapy drugs can be provided through a vein so that they travel throughout the body. On the other hand, the drugs can be administered so that they are delivered directly to the cancer cells. The therapy helps to provide relief to the body and leads to a reduction in signs and symptoms.
Targeted Drug Therapy
The targeted drug therapy involves focusing on the malfunctions present in the cancer cells. Through this therapy, the abnormalities are blocked, which leads to destroying them.
It uses the body’s immune system to target the cancer cells and fight them. It interferes with the process where the cancer cells produce proteins that blinds the body’s immune cells. Also, it leads to strengthening immunity.
The cancer cells are removed through wide local excision or radical excision. The cancer affected area is removed by the doctors along with some parts of healthy tissues to ensure that no infection stays behind.
Partial vulvectomy involves removal of a part of the vulva while radical vulvectomy involves removing the entire vulva. Sentinel node biopsy includes removal of a few lymph nodes around that can be removed with the help of a surgery. If more lymph nodes are affected, more of them can be removed.
Why chose Ayurveda?
To choose Ayurveda involves dealing with the issues through natural herbs and ointments. Use of techniques like Uttara Basti, Yoni Puran karma, and Yoni prakshalan karma can also be done to treat cancerous situations.
Ayurveda is an ancient system of medicine that believes in natural ways of healing. It uses medicinal herbs that contain several properties important for boosting the body’s immune system and helping people to stay fit. Consumption of Ayurvedic supplements as directed by the physician helps a lot in reducing the symptoms of the disease.
Shatavari is a medicinal herb that is considered good for female sexual disorders. Saraka Indica, and Commiphora Mukul, are also some of the Ayurvedic herbs that require use in such treatments.
Kachnaar guggul is known to be highly effective in dealing with tumors and even swollen lymph nodes. Ashwagandha holds anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help the body boost its immunity against infections in many ways.
The extract of Lodhra in the form of powders or pills can be taken to help treat the issues of menstruation cycle and the vaginal discharges. Also, it is advised to consume the juice of Garlic as it holds certain medicinal properties that restrict the growth of tumor cells.