Before taking a sample, the doctor numbs the skin of the vulva with a small injection of local anaesthetic. This may sting for a few seconds. When they take the sample of tissue it should not hurt, but sometimes it can feel uncomfortable.
If the vulval area is painful, you may have your biopsy taken under a general anaesthetic.
After the biopsy, you may have some bleeding for a few days. This should gradually stop. If it gets worse or continues, tell your doctor. You should use sanitary pads rather than tampons until the bleeding has settled. Keep the area clean by rinsing with water after every bowel movement.
You may also feel sore. Painkillers or a warm bath can help.
It will take about 7 to 10 days for the results of your biopsy to be ready. Waiting for your results can be a difficult time. It may help to talk to a relative or close friend.
Below is a sample of the sources used in our vulval cancer information. If you would like more information about the sources we use, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Morrison J, Baldwin P, Buckley L, et al. Gynaecological Cancer Society (BGCS) vulval cancer guidelines: recommendations for practice. 2020. Available from https://www.bgcs.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/BGCS-vulval-guidelines-v22.pdf [accessed November 2020].
Rogers LJ, and Cuello MA. Cancer of the vulva. Int J Gynaecol Obstet, 2018; 143, S2, 4-13. Available from https://doi.org/10.1002/ijgo.12609 [accessed November 2020].
This information has been written, revised and edited by Macmillan Cancer Support’s Cancer Information Development team. It has been reviewed by expert medical and health professionals and people living with cancer. It has been approved by Senior Medical Editor, Professor Nick Reed, Consultant Clinical Oncologist.
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The language we use
We want everyone affected by cancer to feel our information is written for them.
We try to make sure our information is as clear as possible. We use plain English, avoid jargon, explain any medical words, use illustrations to explain text, and make sure important points are highlighted clearly.
We use gender-inclusive language and talk to our readers as ‘you’ so that everyone feels included. Where clinically necessary we use the terms ‘men’ and ‘women’ or ‘male’ and ‘female’. For example, we do so when talking about parts of the body or mentioning statistics or research about who is affected. Our aims are for our information to be as clear and relevant as possible for everyone.
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