Vaginal cancer is the rarest of all gynecologic malignancy

The vagina, often called the birth canal goes from the cervix to the open vulva. While this is the rarest of cancers we see it has many of the same treatment methods as the other cancers. Different cancers that we treat have different risk factors, such as age, race, smoking, drinking and diet. It has shown that certain risk factors make a woman more likely to develop vaginal cancer, but many of the patients with vaginal cancer don’t have any apparent risk factors. It is very hard to identity the risk factors associated with the caner. Cancers that begin in gland cells are called adenocarcinomas. About 15 of every 100 cases of vaginal cancer are adenocarcinomas. The usual type of vaginal adenocarcinoma typically develops in women older than 50. Having routine pelvic exams and knowing any symptoms of vulvar cancer greatly improve the chances of early detection and successful treatment. There is no standard screening for this disease. It is best to get frequent well visit exams from your physician.

1 in 1,100 Women Develop Vaginal Cancer in Her Lifetime

About 70 in 100 cases of vaginal cancer are squamous cell carcinomas. These cancers begin in the squamous cells that make up the epithelial lining of the vagina.

Cancers starting in the vagina are much less common than cancers starting in other organs, such as the cervix, uterus, or bladder which then spread to the vagina.

Symptoms

Ignoring symptoms may allow cancer to progress and lower chances for effective treatment.


  • Early cervical cancer typically has no symptoms
  • Irregular bleeding
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Pelvic pain
  • Postcoital bleeding

Risk Factors

It helps to focus on those risk factors you can change or avoid rather than those you cannot.


  • HPV
  • History of cervical cancer/dysplasia
  • Immunosuppression
  • Smoking
  • Chronic vulvar pruritis

Treatments

Depending on the type and stage of a cancer, you may need more than one type of treatment.


  • Radical Surgery
  • Radiation
  • Chemotherapy