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Papers And Originals

Carcinoma of the Vulva

Br Med J 1972; 1 doi: (Published 12 February 1972) Cite this as: Br Med J 1972;1:397
  1. A. H. Charles


    A series of 127 patients presenting at two London hospitals with carcinoma of the vulva during the period 1948-70 is reviewed. Patients with intraepithelial carcinoma or rodent ulcer are excluded, but the series includes two cases of malignant melanoma, one of adenocarcinoma of Bartholin's gland, and two of basal cell carcinoma. In the remainder the pathological diagnosis was squamous cell carcinoma.

    Leucoplakia was present in only 30 cases (24%) and it is therefore concluded that this condition is probably not so dangerous as a precursor of cancer as has been stated in the past, though an association with cancer of the vulva is undeniable.

    In only three cases was no form of treatment practicable. Of the remaining 124, two were treated by radiotherapy, 37 by simple vulvectomy, 12 by vulvectomy followed by separate inguinal lymphadenectomy, and 73 by radical vulvectomy combined with bilateral lymphadenectomy en bloc, pelvic lymphadenectomy being included whenever the superficial lymph nodes appeared to be involved or when Cloquet's node was shown by frozen-section examination to be invaded. Excellent results, with an absolute five-year survival rate of 66%, were obtained with this last procedure, especially when primary skin cover was provided by the delayed technique (five-year survival 73%). The results of simple vulvectomy were also surprisingly good, with an absolute five-year survival rate of 65%, and this operation may be a wise choice for the very old or infirm patient.