Regular pelvic exams are essential to finding vulvar cancer early, when it’s most treatable. If an abnormality is found, your doctor may perform additional tests, such as a colposcopy (a special magnifying scope is used to examine the vulva and vagina) or a biopsy (a small sample of tissue is removed and examined under a microscope).
To determine whether your cancer has spread, your doctor may also perform the following:
Pelvic exam: A more thorough pelvic exam may be performed while you’re under anesthesia.
Cystoscopy or proctoscopy: Your doctor will insert a thin, lighted tube (called a cytoscope) to check whether cancer has spread to your urethra or bladder. He or she may also insert a tube (called a proctoscope) into your rectum to check for cancer there.
CT (computed tomography): This scan can show the tumor’s precise location, size and involvement with adjacent tissue.
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): This scan can show biochemical changes that can signal cancerous tumors, particularly those that have spread.
PET (positron emission tomography): In this procedure, a dye is injected that highlights cancer cells growing in your body, which can then be detected by a special camera.