Before a vulvar cancer diagnosis can be made, you should see a doctor. The first step is for the doctor to take a complete medical history to check for risk factors and symptoms. Then you would be physically examined by your doctor, including a pelvic exam and possibly a Pap test and a vaginal biopsy.

As with cancers of the cervix, cancers of the vagina are often preceded by pre-cancerous lesions. The pre-cancerous lesions are called Vaginal Intraepithelial Neoplasias (VaIN).

Most pre-cancerous lesions are detected by routine pap smear. If you have ever received treatment for an abnormal pap smear, you may be at increased risk for vaginal dysplasia.

Only biopsies of abnormal areas can confirm the degree of dysplasia and determine whether cancer is present within the vagina.

Learn about the stages of vulvar cancer