What Are the Risk Factors?

Photo of four women

Several factors may increase the chance that you will get vaginal or vulvar cancer.

There is no way to know for sure if you will get vaginal or vulvar cancer. Some women get these cancers without being at high risk. However, several factors may increase the chance that you will get vaginal or vulvar cancer, including if you—

  • Have human papillomavirus (HPV).
  • Have had cervical precancer or cervical cancer.
  • Have a condition that weakens your immune system (such as HIV, the virus that can lead to AIDS), making it hard for your body to fight off health problems.
  • Smoke.
  • Have chronic vulvar itching or burning.

If one or more of these things is true for you, it does not mean you will get vaginal or vulvar cancer. But you should speak with your doctor to see if he or she recommends more frequent exams.

Page last reviewed: February 14, 2017