Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
 

Vaginal Cancer

Vaginal Cancer

Illustration of the anatomy of the female pelvic area
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What is the vagina?

The vagina is the passageway through which fluid passes out of the body during menstrual periods. It is also called the "birth canal." The vagina connects the cervix (the opening of the womb, or uterus) and the vulva (the external genitalia).

What is vaginal cancer?

Cancer of the vagina, a rare kind of cancer in women, is a disease in which malignant cells are found in the tissues of the vagina. According to the American Cancer Society, about 2,300 cases of vaginal cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2010.

There are several types of cancer of the vagina. The two most common are:

Other types of vaginal cancer include:

What is a risk factor?

A risk factor is anything that may increase a person's chance of developing a disease. It may be an activity, such as smoking, diet, family history, or many other things. Different diseases, including cancers, have different risk factors.

Although these factors can increase a person's risk, they do not necessarily cause the disease. Some people with one or more risk factors never develop cancer, while others develop cancer and have no known risk factors.

But, knowing your risk factors to any disease can help to guide you into the appropriate actions, including changing behaviors and being clinically monitored for the disease.

What are risk factors for vaginal cancer?

The following have been suggested as risk factors for vaginal cancer:

What are the symptoms of vaginal cancer?

The following are the most common symptoms of vaginal cancer. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

Even if a woman has had a hysterectomy, she still has a chance of developing vaginal cancer. The symptoms of vaginal cancer may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Consult a physician for diagnosis.

How is vaginal cancer diagnosed?

There are several tests used to diagnose vaginal cancer, including:

Treatment for vaginal cancer:

Specific treatment for vaginal cancer will be determined by your physician based on:

Generally, there are three kinds of treatment available for patients with cancerous or precancerous conditions of the vagina:

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Online Resources of Gynecological Health

 

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