Vulval cancer generally presents with vulval itching and a change in the skin of the vulva which appears either white, red or dark brown. Some patients present with more advanced disease where the groin nodes are enlarged.
Diagnosis should be reached by a gynaecological oncologist who will take a history and examine the vulva. Staging investigations include blood count, renal function tests, chest x-rays and CT or MRI of the pelvis and abdomen.
Delays in Diagnosis
The main form of treatment is surgery and includes radical vulvectomy and skin grafting. Unfortunately most patients with vulval carcinoma present with late disease. Therefore medical negligence claims are difficult to prove. However, claims may be brought for:
- Failure to carry out adequate examination or take an accurate history
- Failure to refer a patient to a gynaecological oncologist for further investigation
- Mistakes in interpreting the investigations
- Mistaken diagnosis of vulval cancer often resulting in unnecessary mutilating surgery which often seriously affects psychosexual function
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