Treatments for stage 1 vulvar cancer

The following are treatment options for stage 1 vulvar cancer. Your healthcare team will suggest treatments based on your needs and work with you to develop a treatment plan.


Surgery is a main treatment for stage 1 vulvar cancer. The type of surgery you may have depends on the depth and size of the tumour and whether or not there are other areas of cancer or vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN). The types of surgery are:

  • a wide local excision
  • a partial radical vulvectomy
  • the removal of the lymph nodes from the same side of the groin as the cancer or both sides of the groin (inguinal lymph node dissection), depending on the location of the cancer
  • a sentinel lymph node biopsy followed by a lymph node dissection if there is spread to the sentinel node

Radiation therapy

You may be offered radiation therapy for stage 1 vulvar cancer. External beam radiation therapy is used if you cannot have surgery because of the location of the cancer or if you have other health problems.

Clinical trials

Talk to your doctor about clinical trials open to women with vulvar cancer in Canada. Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, find and treat cancer. Find out more about clinical trials.

Expert review and references

  • American Cancer Society. Vulvar Cancer. 2014:
  • Klopp AH, Eifel PJ, Berek JS, Konstantinopoulos PA . Cancer of the cervix, vagina and vulva. DeVita VT Jr, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA. Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 10th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2015: 72:1013-1047.
  • Levine DA, Dizon DS, Yashar CM, Barakat RR, Berchuch A, Markman M, Randall ME. Handbook for Principles and Practice of Gynecologic Oncology. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer; 2015.
  • National Cancer Institute. Vulvar Cancer Treatment (PDQ®) Health Professional Version. 2017: