What Can I Do If I Am At Risk for Vulvar Cancer?
The best thing you can do to prevent vulvar cancer is to lower the risks you can control and get regular gynecological exams. In some cases, doctors also recommend doing self-exams. Here are some of the choices you can make to lower your risk of getting vulvar cancer:
Avoid HPV and HIV infection. You can help prevent these infections by not having sexual intercourse as a preteen or young teen, by having protected sex (using condoms), and by avoiding sex with many people or with people who have had a lot of sexual partners. Remember that condoms provide some protection against HPV, but not total. But they can help prevent the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Don’t smoke. Women who smoke are more likely to get vulvar cancer, especially if they have HPV.
Have regular Pap tests and pelvic exams. Women who are sexually active or are older than 18 should have a pelvic examination and a Pap test on a regular basis.
Do self-exams. Your doctor may recommend that you do regular self-exams to spot any changes in your vulva. You can do this by using a mirror once a month and looking for any red, irritated, dark, or white spots on your vulva. Also look for bumps, ulcers, or moles that are new or have changed. Tell your doctor about anything unusual you see.