If you have vulvar cancer, your outcomes will be better if you are treated by a gynecologic oncologist right from the beginning.
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center has more gynecologic oncologists than any other medical center or clinic in the Pacific Northwest. They treat all types of gynecologic cancer, including cervical, endometrial, ovarian, and vulvar cancers, as well as uterine sarcoma and gestational trophoblastic disease.
The most important decision a person with cancer will make is deciding where to get treated. Studies have shown that patients who begin their treatment at a top regional cancer center, like Fred Hutch, have better outcomes than those who start their treatment elsewhere. And here’s why:
Fred Hutch physicians treat only cancer and specialize in specific cancer types, such as gynecologic cancer. They have a deep understanding of their specialty since they diagnose and treat thousands of cancer cases every year. This experience builds their expertise that makes better outcomes possible.
Physicians at Fred Hutch have access to all the latest developments and research in treating cancer. Your care comes from the combined expertise of Fred Hutch and UW Medicine.
When your treatment is complete, we'll keep a close watch on your health through our Women’s Wellness Clinic, where we provide follow-up care focused on cancer treatment recovery.
People who have received a diagnosis of vulvar cancer will be seen initially at the UW Medical Center - Montlake . In some cases, treatments will also be scheduled at Fred Hutch. If surgery is required, surgical procedures are performed at UW Medical Center - Montlake, where you may also have follow-up and/or chemotherapy or radiation treatments, if necessary. Your physician or patient care coordinator will clarify the location where you will receive your care.
Vulvar cancer appears as a lesion or ulcer on the external genitalia, or vulva. Cancer of the vulva is rare. It most often occurs in people older than age 60 and may often be found during periodic pelvic exams after menopause.
Vulvar cancer is cancer of the external female sexual organs. Most often, it is a type of skin cancer. It is a fairly rare disease, affecting only about one-half of one percent of all American women who are diagnosed with cancer each year. If detected early, before it has spread to the lymph nodes, the chances of a cure are quite high, 90 percent or better.
At Fred Hutch, you receive care from a team of providers with extensive experience in your disease. Your team includes physicians, a patient care coordinator, a registered nurse, an advanced practice provider and others, based on your needs. You also have access to experts like registered dietitians, social workers, acupuncturists, psychiatrists and more who specialize in supporting people with cancer or blood disorders.
At Fred Hutch, we follow our patients for as long as they choose. Typically, you will come for checkups every three months for the first two years after your treatment for vulvar cancer. When people live far away from Seattle, we try to coordinate follow-up care if possible and desirable with your local gynecolgist.
Women who reach the two-year mark without a recurrence of their disease are less likely to ever have a recurrence. From that point, we usually ask you to come in every six months for a checkup until five years have passed.
After five years, a once-a-year checkup is all that is recommended.
Our patients say that they find it reassuring to see the same physicians who treated them — experts in gynecologic cancers — for their follow-up visits.
Fred Hutch was formed, in part, to bring promising new treatments to patients faster. For vulvar cancer patients, this means more treatment options at Fred Hutch than you might find elsewhere, including the chance to participate in one of many ongoing clinical trials conducted at Fred Hutch and UW Medicine.
Many patients at Fred Hutch receive promising therapies by taking part in clinical trials. These research studies are done by physician-scientists from Fred Hutch and UW Medicine. They test new treatments or new ways to use current treatments.
Every advance in cancer treatment in recent years has come out of clinical trials. We offer more active clinical trials than anywhere else, which means more treatment options for patients like you.