Vaginal cancer is a rare gynecologic cancer that begins in the vagina (birth canal), which extends from the cervix (opening of the uterus) to the vulva on the outside of the body (external female genitals). If you think you may have vaginal cancer, contact us: 734-647-8902
There are several different types of vaginal cancer including:
- Squamous cell carcinoma:
Squamous cells are one of three cell types that create the muscles, skin and nerves in the body. In this case, these are the cells in the lining of the vagina. This is the most common form of vaginal cancer.
Epithelial cells help create the glands in our body; the structures that secrete things like sweat and mucus. In this case, these are the cells that create and secrete vaginal fluid.
This form of skin cancer develops in the vagina in about 2% of all cases
- Sarcoma, and other cancers.
Treatment for vaginal cancer depends on the type and stage of the cancer, as well as other patient factors.
There are no definitive risk factors for vaginal cancer.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the following may increase the chances for developing vaginal cancer:
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV). This virus is connected to many forms of gynecologic cancer. Up to 9 of every 10 vaginal cancers and pre-cancers (vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia – VAIN) are linked to infection with HPV.
- Prior cervical precancer or cervical cancer.
- Have a condition that weakens your immune system (such as HIV, the virus that can lead to AIDS)
- Tobacco use
- Chronic vulvar itching or burning
Symptoms of Vaginal Cancer
Most women don't experience symptoms but the following should be reported to your doctor:
- Vaginal discharge or bleeding that is not normal for you.
- A change in bathroom habits, such as having blood in the urine or stool; going to the bathroom more often than usual; or feeling constipated.
- Pelvic pain or pressure.
Prevention and Screening
Of all the gynecologic cancers, only cervical cancer has a screening test -- the Pap test.
The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is available for girls and women. It is recommended for 11- and 12-year-old girls and boys. It also can be given to females who are 13 - 26 who did not get any or all of the shots when they were younger. Ideally, girls should get three doses of this vaccine before their first sexual contact that are 9 to 26 years old. The HPV vaccine protects against most types of HPV that most often cause cervical cancer, as well as vaginal and vulvar cancer.