Improved treatment of women with cancer of the vulva
A new research project at Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital aims to pave the way for more gentle treatment of patients with cancer of the vulva. Professor and Consultant Pernille Tine Jensen is heading the nationwide project, which has been made possible by two grants totalling DKK 4.3 million.
Cancer of the vulva is rare. However, those women who are affected often undergo extensive surgical procedures and radiotherapy, and risk serious delayed complications. For example, skin and mucous membranes may become permanently damaged due to the formation of scar tissue in the area, and many experience sexual problems and lymph accumulation in the legs, groin and around the pubis.
Together with a national research consortium, Professor and Consultant Pernille Tine Jensen will now test a range of new methods to improve treatment efficiency, reduce delayed complications and lessen the incidence of relapse. For example, the researchers hope that the use of a new type of dye in the diagnosis will make it easier to find the so-called sentinel lymph nodes – the first lymph node in a larger group, which is also the first place that cancer cells attack when they spread from one area to another. At the same time, they will work to optimise radiotherapy doses, in order to treat the affected area efficiently while minimising the irradiation of healthy tissue.
With the help of blood and tissue samples from patients, the researchers will also test for cancer DNA as a way of identifying patients who could benefit from post-treatment. The samples can also help to detect and treat relapses earlier.
The research project is financed by grants of almost DKK 3 million from the Alfred Benzon Foundation and DKK 1.3 million from the Danish Cancer Society's Beat Cancer funds.
Professor and Consultant Pernille Tine Jensen
Aarhus University, Department of Clinical Medicine
Aarhus University Hospital, Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics
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