In detail

Vaginal cancer

Vaginal cancer

Vaginal cancer is a fairly rare form of cancer in which malignant cells appear in the vagina - the muscular conduit that connects the uterus and vulva. There are several forms of this cancer, some of which can occur even in young girls or 3 year olds. Discovered in the early stage vaginal cancer can be cured.

Types of vaginal cancer

Squamous cell carcinoma is the main and most common form of vaginal cancer. Other types include:

  • primary or secondary adenocarcinoma;

  • melanoma;

  • embryonic rhabdomyosarcoma (in children 3 years old);

  • secondary epithelial carcinoma;

  • adenocarcinoma with class cells.

Causes and risk factors in vaginal cancer

Cancer occurs because of genetic mutations that occur in healthy cells. But the causes underlying the triggering of these mutations are not fully known. Therefore, physicians are limited to presenting only risk factors that lead to this cancer:

  • Exposure during pregnancy to diethylstilbestrol (DES) used in various hormonal treatments increases the risk of cancer in children;

  • age is another risk factor, with vaginal cancer occurring especially in women over 60;

  • HPV infection;

  • medical history of abnormal cells in the cervix (another local decancer type);

  • smoking.

What are the symptoms?

In most cases, vaginal cancer is asymptomatic and is detected following a routine Pap smear test. Possible signs of the disease may be:

  • severe pain in the pelvic area;

  • abnormal vaginal bleeding (or other unusual vaginal secretions) not associated with menstrual periods;

  • a knot at the vaginal level.

What is the treatment for vaginal cancer?

As I said, as soon as vaginal cancer is detected at an early stage, it is curable. The therapeutic options depend on several factors, mainly the type of cancer and the phase in which it is detected. The doctor will establish a therapeutic scheme that suits you and that will give the best results, but also your ability to cope with the sometimes severe side effects.

Mainly vaginal cancer therapy includes:

  • surgical treatment;

  • radiotherapy (use of X-rays);

  • sometimes, chemotherapy.

Surgical options

  • laser small tumor removal;

  • vaginectomy - removal of the hip;

  • pelvectomy (removal of most pelvic organs);

  • hysterectomy (removal of the uterus, plus the cervix).


  • External radiotherapy - (use of X-rays locally - abdominal or pelvic, depending on the location of cancer cells);

  • Internal radiotherapy - irradiation takes place inside the tumor mass.

Tags Women's Health Hpv Pap Test