What is Bartholin’s Gland Carcinoma of the Vulva?
Bartholin’s gland carcinoma of the vulva is a very rare type of cancer that originates from the Bartholin’s glands. These small glands are located on each side of the vaginal opening and produce a fluid that lubricates the vagina.
What is Bartholin’s Gland?
The Bartholin’s glands, also known as the greater vestibular glands, are two small glands located near the opening of the vagina, one on each side. These glands are not typically noticeable until they become blocked or infected, causing a condition known as Bartholin’s cyst or abscess. Each Bartholin’s gland leads to a small duct, about 2 cm long, that opens externally on the inner surface of the labia minora, and the skin folds situated on either side of the opening of the vagina. If these ducts become blocked, the fluid can accumulate in the gland and form a Bartholin’s cyst. If the cyst becomes infected, it can turn into an abscess.
Symptoms of Bartholin’s gland carcinoma of the vulva can include:
- A lump or swelling in the vulva, typically on one side
- Pain or discomfort in the vulvar area, often exacerbated during sexual intercourse
- Abnormal bleeding or discharge
- Changes in the skin of the vulva
Disease Aetiology (Causes)
The exact cause of Bartholin’s gland carcinoma is unknown. However, risk factors can include older age, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, and smoking.
Diagnosis of Bartholin’s gland carcinoma of the vulva typically involves:
- Detailed medical history and physical examination
- Biopsy of the lump or affected area for microscopic examination
- Imaging tests like ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI to assess the extent of cancer and to check for metastasis
The treatment for Bartholin’s gland carcinoma of the vulva often includes:
- Surgery: This usually involves the removal of the tumour along with a margin of healthy tissue surrounding it. In some cases, lymph nodes in the groin may also need to be removed.
- Radiation therapy: This can be used after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells, or as the main treatment if surgery isn’t an option.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy may be used, especially if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
What Support can we Give for Bartholin’s Gland Carcinoma of the Vulva?
Bartholin’s Gland Carcinoma of the Vulva is rare cancer, meaning it is not as well known as other forms of cancer. Without a Ribbon is an Australian organisation that provides support for individuals who suffer from rare cancers. So, we provide a designated platform for Warriors to obtain information specific to their Rare Cancer. We also provide annual opportunities for our Warriors to meet and learn from each other. If you suffer from rare cancer such as Bartholin’s Gland Carcinoma of the Vulva, we can help and support you through your journey thanks to the generous donations we receive. Click the link below to sign up and become a Warrior today!
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