Why do my bigger pimples itch

Severe itching of the external genital area can indicate cancer

10.01.2010

Persistent itching and skin changes on the external female sexual organs - the vulva - can indicate cancer.

Persistent itching and skin changes on the external female sexual organs - the vulva - can indicate cancer. "In the early stages of vulvar cancer, small, raised reddish hardening or spots can appear that are reminiscent of warts and scars," says Dr. Klaus König, Vice President of the Professional Association of Gynecologists (BVF) The clitoral region is characterized by severe, recurring itching and sometimes bloody discharge. Pain can also be one of the symptoms that occur either spontaneously or after sexual intercourse. " Women who notice symptoms such as itching, discharge or warts should always have a doctor clarify the cause of these symptoms.

A cancer of the vulva can hide various types of cancer that arise from different cell types in the genital region. The labia majora are most often affected by malignant changes or precancerous stages - in rarer cases also the labia minora, the labia minora or the clitoris. Vulvar cancer often only causes noticeable symptoms at an advanced stage, which is why the cancer is often discovered by chance during a pelvic examination.

The exact relationships that lead to the development of vulvar cancer are still largely unclear. "The risk factors include infections with certain human papillomaviruses, which can also cause cervical cancer," explains Dr. König. "It can be assumed that vaccination against HP viruses not only significantly lowers the risk of developing cervical cancer and its precursors, but also provides protection against vulvar cancer. " In addition, infections of the genital area with other pathogens, such as herpes viruses, chlamydia or the pathogens of syphilis, seem to increase the risk of developing cancer precursors or carcinoma. However, infection with these pathogens alone does not cause cancer. Chronic inflammatory diseases of the vulva and vagina also increase the risk of the disease, such as the so-called white callous disease. Women with a weakened or suppressed immune system are also at risk - for example through an HIV infection or after an organ transplant, as well as women who smoke.

If vulvar cancer is suspected, the entire genital area is examined and palpated. If necessary, a tissue sample is taken from the suspicious areas of skin and checked for cell changes. If these are cancer cells, imaging procedures can then clarify whether the tumor has already spread to surrounding tissue or other organs.

Vulvar cancer is a rare tumor disease. In Germany about 2 out of 100,000 women fall ill. However, the diseases increase with age. While only 0.4 out of 100,000 women fall ill among under 30-year-olds, it is 20 out of 100,000 women among 70-year-olds.

Author (s): äin-red