Alcohol and vulvar cancer risk. Are they connected? In a word, no. Drinking alcohol does not increase the risk of developing vulvar cancer. That’s the conclusion of the American Cancer Society, American Society of Clinical Oncology, Mayo Clinics, and other medical organizations.
I. Vulvar Cancer
Risk factors for vulvar cancer include these.
- Age. Risk of vulvar cancer increases after age 60.
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection
- Genital cancer
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection
- Vulvar intraepithelial neoplasa (VIN)
- Lichen sclerosus
- Melanoma or dysplastic nevi (atypical moles) on the body
- Family history of melanoma
Symptoms of vulvar cancer include these.
- Vulvar pain
- A lump on the vulva
- Itching of the vulva that lasts more than four weeks
- A sore on the vulva that doesn’t heal
- Burning sensation in the genital area that does not respond to treatment
- Non-menstrual bleeding from the vulva
- Any change in a mole or birthmark in the vulvar area
Any of these symptoms may or may not indicate vulvar cancer. Therefore, it’s best to consult a doctor for a diagnosis.
Moderate Drinking Beneficial
On the other hand, the moderate drinking promotes better health and greater longevity. That’s in comparison with either abstaining from alcohol or drinking abusively.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has described drinking in moderation. For women, it’s having three drinks in any one day and an average of seven drinks per week.
A standard alcoholic drink is a
- 12-ounce can or bottle of regular beer
- 5-ounce glass of dinner wine
- shot (one and one-half ounces) of 80 proof liquor or spirits such as vodka, tequila, rum, etc.
Standard drinks contain equivalent amounts of alcohol. Specifically, it’s 0.6 ounce of pure alcohol.
Finally, beer, wine, and distilled spirits equally benefit health and longevity.
II. Resources: Alcohol and Vulvar Cancer
These books are for patients, loved ones, and caregivers.
- Burrows, L. and Heller, D. 100 Questions & Answers about Vulvar Cancer. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett, 2010.
- Parker, P. and Parker, J. The Official Patient’s Sourcebook on Vulvar Cancer. ICON, 2007.
- CDC. Vaginal and Vulvar Cancers. Atlanta: CDC, 2009.
- CDC. Inside Knowledge: Get the Facts about Gynecologic Cancer. Atlanta, 2012.
- Elit, L. Women and Cancer. NY: Nova, 2007.
- Smith, J. and Del Priore, G. Women’s Cancers: Pathways to Healing. A Patient’s Guide to Dealing with Cancer. London: Imperial, 2016.
- Medical Tests Sourcebook: Basic Consumer Health Information. Detroit: Omnigraphics, 2018.
- Bellinir, K. Cancer Sourcebook for Women: Basic Consumer Health Information about Gynecologic Cancers. Detroit: Omnigraphics, 2018.
- Turkington, C. and Edelson, M. The Encyclopedia of Women’s Reproductive Cancer. NY: Facts on File, 2009.
- Hartman, L. and Loprinzi, C. Mayo Clinic Guide to Women’s Cancers. Rochester, MN: Mayo, 2007.
- Jones, K. Cancer Sourcebook. Detroit: 2015.
- Vulvar Cancer.
- Risk Factors and Prevention: Vulvar Cancer .
- Vulvar Cancer Risk Factors.
- Signs and Symptoms – Vulvar Cancer.
Readings on Alcohol and Vulvar Cancer
- Hjart̐ưaker, A., et al. Alcohol and gynecological cancers: an overview. Eur J Cancer Prev, 2010, 19(1), 1-10. Found no relationship between drinking alcohol and vulvar cancer.
- Parazzini, F., et al. Selected food intake and risk of vulvar cancer. Cancer, 1995, 76(11), 2291-2296. Found no relationship between drinking alcohol and vulvar cancer.
- Canavan, T., and Cohen, D. Vulvar cancer. Am Fam Phys, 2012, 66(7), 1269-1274.
- Fonseca, J. Recurrent vulvar cancer. Clin Obstet Gyn, 2015; 48(4), 879-883.
- Ghurani, G., and Penalver, M. An update on vulvar cancer. Am J Obstet Gyn, 2001, 185(2), 0294-0299.
- Hampl, M., et al. Effect of human papillomavirus on vulvar cancer. Obstet Gyn, 2006, 108(6), 1361-1368.
- Hauspy, J., et al. Sentinel lymph node in vulvar cancer. Cancer, 2007, 110(5), 1015-1023.
- Hauspy, J., et al. Reply to “Sentinel lymph node in vulvar cancer.” Cancer, 2008, 112(8), 1,869.
- Information from your family doctor – Vulvar cancer. Am Fam Phy, 2012, 66(7), 1276.
- Korach, D., et al. Vulvar cancer metastatic to breast. Gyn Onc, 2006, 103(3), 1144.
- Kumar, S., et al. A comparison of younger vs older women with vulvar cancer. Am J Obstet Gyn, 2009, 200(5), e52-55.
- Lanneau, G., et al. Vulvar cancer in young women. Am J Obstet Gyn, 2009, 200(6), 645e1
- Likes, W. Vulvar cancer in the wake of increased incidence. Nurse Prac, 2009, 34(2), 45-50.
- Mahajan, N., et al. Sentinel lymph node in vulvar cancer. Cancer, 2008, 112(8), 1,869
- Nat Libr Med. Vulvar Cancer. NIH. Washington: The Library.
- Saraiya, M., et al. Incidenceof in situ and invasive vulvar cancer. Cancer, 2018, 113(10), 2865-72.
- Vulvar cancer. Mayo Clin Health Lett, 2012, 20(7), 6.
- Weikel, W., et al. Surgical therapy of recurrent vulvar cancer. Am J Obstet Gyn, 2016, 195(5), 1293-1302.
This website makes no recommendations about drinking alcohol and vulvar cancer risk. Therefore, consult a doctor for health and medical advice.