Last Modified: January 12, 2003
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
Could you tell me if there have been any new findings as to the cause of vulvar cancer?
Christina S. Chu, MD, Assistant Professor of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania Health System, responds:
There have been no recent new discoveries regarding the causes of vulvar cancer. Most women who develop vulvar cancer are older than 65 years of age, but 15% may appear in women under the age of 40. Other illnesses have been associated with vulvar cancer (such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension and arteriosclerosis) but these may just be associated with increasing age, as opposed to a true association with developing the cancer. There is a known association of vulvar cancer with genital warts, and the HPV (human papilloma virus) is suspected to be a cause of vulvar cancer as it is also implicated in the development of cervical cancers.