Clare Baumhauer, age 44, was diagnosed with cancer. Her story is going viral and she's pleading with women everywhere to familiarize themselves with the symptoms.
Clare has had itching in the vulva area ever since adolescence, but doctors always treated it as an irritation, herpes or cystitis, according to The World News. She never imagined how far off from the truth the doctors were.
Clare was frustrated and embarrassed when she couldn't receive a clear answer or solution to her problem, and she experienced her symptoms through adulthood. When she developed an ulcer and the age of 30, she went back to the doctor, only to be misdiagnosed with a type of sclerosis. Another ten years passed before the doctors correctly diagnosed her.
She was finally diagnosed with vulvar cancer, and her menopause came early because of the radiation therapy and treatments she had to go through.
The itch that caused the cancer
Clare was eventually diagnosed with Lichen Sclerosus, a skin condition that increases the risk of vulvar cancer.
If this condition would have been treated early on in her life, her risk of cancer would have lowered. Her diagnosis started small, but developed over the many years she suffered from it. She had surgery to remove the affected area, but had to go through radiation therapy to completely get rid of the cancer.
What you need to know about Lichen Sclerosus
It's a skin condition that produces patches of thin skin anywhere on the body, but it mostly occurs in the genital area.
Women can develop this condition at any age, but women in menopause are more prone.
Treatment isn't necessary in some cases, but you should still consult a doctor.
Risk factors include age (less than 20 percent of women with this cancer are under 50), smoking, AIDS, vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (abnormal cells on the vulva's surface), Lichen Sclerosus, other types of genital cancers and certain skin cancers.
Stop smoking, avoid casual sex and go to the gynecologist annually. Pay attention to the color of the skin, the appearance and make note of any changes. And of course, if you itch in that area, check with a doctor instead of buying some over-the-counter cream.