Referral to a specialist

Your GP should arrange for you to see a specialist if you have symptoms that could be due to vulval cancer. Depending on your symptoms and other factors, this might be an urgent referral.

You will get your appointment as soon as possible. Due to COVID-19, you may have to wait longer. Ask your GP when this is likely to be.

Seeing your GP

It can be hard for GPs to decide who may have cancer and who might have a more minor condition.

For some vulval symptoms, your doctor may ask you to wait to see if the symptoms get better or respond to treatment. For example, you might have an infection. Do go back if you have been prescribed treatment and your symptoms are continuing or getting worse.

UK referral guidelines

There are guidelines for GPs to help them decide who needs a referral. The following is a summary. Your GP will use these guidelines as well as their own experience and judgement.

You should have an urgent referral to a specialist if you have: 

  • an unexplained vulval lump or sore (ulceration)
  • bleeding from the vulva

It's important to remember that vulval cancer is rare. Most cases are diagnosed in women over the age of 65. These symptoms can be caused by other conditions, and do not necessarily mean that you have cancer. But it is important to get them checked out.

If you're still worried

Sometimes you might feel that your GP is not concerned enough about your symptoms. If you think they should be more concerned, print this page and the symptoms page. Ask your GP to talk it through with you. 

What happens when you see a specialist?

If you see a specialist they will want to examine you and may do several tests.

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