Types of vulval cancer


There are several types of vulvar cancer, but some are extremely rare. 

Squamous cell carcinoma

Most (9 out of 10) vulvar cancers develop from squamous cells, the skin cells of the vulva. These cancers usually grow very slowly over a few years, and may be [1]linked to human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. 

  • Vulvar melanoma 

Vulvar melanomas develop from melanocytes, the cells that give skin its colour, which are also found in the lining of the vulva.[2] 


Adenocarcinomas are a rare type of vulvar cancer. They develop from cells that line the glands in the vulval skin – either in the Bartholin glands or in the sweat glands.  

Paget’s disease of the vulva is when adenocarcinomas start in the top layer in the skin of the vulva. 


Sarcomas of the vulva are a rare type of vulvar cancer. Sarcomas develop from connective tissues of the body, such as muscle or fat under the skin. 

Basal cell carcinoma

Basal cell carcinomas are another rare type of vulvar cancer that start in the skin’s basal cells. 

Precancerous vulvar skin changes

Vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN) is a pre-cancerous skin condition, which means that it can become cancer in some women. In some women, VIN will go away by itself, but treating VIN significantly reduces the risk of it developing into vulvar cancer.