Carcinoma of the vulva: Combined modality treatment

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Opinion statement

One of the most significant developments in recent decades in the management of malignant diseases is the recognition that surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy have limited curative potential. Along with this recognition has come the realization that although some patients can be cured with one of these modalities alone, the judicious combination of these modalities can result in better outcome. Carcinoma of the vulva, a disease that presents challenges with its management because of its anatomic location, affinity for spread to the lymph nodes, and incidence in elderly patients, lends itself to the use of this multimodality approach. The specific purpose of this approach is to decrease the sequelae of radical surgery. In addition, patients that could not be considered candidates for any treatment, such as patients with unresectable nodes, can be offered therapy with potential of cure. The patients with moderately or very advanced disease should be considered for the combination of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. This combined therapy results in better outcome with lesser morbidity. The studies that have been carried out in recent years for patients with advanced carcinoma of the vulva have helped to establish treatment guidelines that can be followed with confidence until more information becomes available.