Vaginal Cancer

Vaginal Cancer
Vaginal Cancer

Overview Of Vaginal Cancer

Vaginal cancer occurs when malignant cancer cells start in the female reproductive organ known as the vagina.

Common Association With

Tumors, cancer, and the vagina.

Causes Of Vaginal Cancer

This form of cancer tends to grow as secondary vaginal cancer. Because of cancer that originated and spread from another part of the body, cancer then grows in a secondary area. For example, ovarian or endometrial cancer are examples.

Primary vaginal cancer starts when cancer begins in the vagina. But this is not common. This form begins in squamous cells, and these cells are close to skin cells. Squamous cell carcinoma is the cancer of this.

The other types include:

  • Sarcoma
  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Melanoma

Squamous cell carcinoma’s origin is not known. Though, it can connect to human papilloma virus (HPV). Because of this, there a strong connection between cervical cancer and squamous cell carcinoma.

Squamous carcinoma is generally apparent in older women. For example, women at least 50 years old or older.

Adenocarcinoma most often impacts younger women, since diagnoses happen mostly by age 19. However, expecting mothers who took diethylstilbestrol (DES), in the first trimester of their pregnancy were more likely to contract this cancer.  DES is also a medicine that helps prevent miscarriages.

Sarcoma is an irregular cancer, and it is more likely to develop during early childhood or infancy.

Symptoms Of Vaginal Cancer

Symptoms of vaginal cancer can include:

Exams & Tests

Routine pelvic exam, as well as a Pap smear in women with no symptoms help test for Cancer.

Tests that can diagnose vaginal cancer:

  • Colposcopy
  • Biopsy

Tests to check if cancer has spread:

  • Abdomen and pelvis MRIs and CT scans
  • PET scan
  • Chest x-ray

Tests to find the stage of cancer:

  • Intravenous urography (x-ray of ureters, kidney, and bladder from a contrast material)
  • Cystoscopy
  • Barium enema

Treatment Of Vaginal Cancer

Vaginal cancer treatment depends on the type of cancer affecting a body. As well, it depends on how far the disease has reached in a given area.

Surgery can be done to remove cancer, but only if the affected area is the upper part of the vagina. As well, the affected area must be small. Women are most often treated with radiation. However, chemotherapy and radiation are both treated if a cervical cancer tumor has expanded to the vagina.

A combination of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy assist with treating sarcoma.