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Dr. Andrew Rynne
MD
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Women's Health Vaginal cancer

Vaginal cancer

It is a condition in which the cancer cells develop from cells of vagina. It is very rare cancer. There are two main types of vaginal cancer, squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma.

Vaginal cancer

Vagina is the muscular part which connects the uterus to the genitals. It accounts to around 2-3 % of the cancers of the gynecology.

Symptoms:

  • Vaginal bleeding.
  • Bleeding after intercourse.
  • Bleeding after menopause
  • Vaginal discharge: It may be watery or blood stained.
  • Lump or mass from vagina.
  • Constipation.
  • Pain in the pelvic region.
  • Pain while passing urine.

Types of vaginal cancer:

  • Vaginal adenocarcinoma: In this type of cancer, the cancer arises from the glands of the vagina.
  • Vaginal melanoma:  It arises from the pigment cells (melanocytes) of the vagina.
  • Vaginal sarcoma: It usually develops from smooth muscles or connective tissue of the vagina.

Risk factors for vaginal cancer:

  • Age: It is common in woman over 60years.
  • Vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia (VAIN): Women with VAIN are more prone to vaginal cancer.
  • Woman with exposure to abortion prevention drugs like diethylstilbestrol during pregnancy increases the risk of vaginal cancer.
  • Human papilloma virus: Infection with this virus increases the risk of vaginal cancer.
  • Multiple sexual partners.
  • Early age at first intercourse.
  • Smoking.
  • HIV infection.

Tests to confirm the diagnosis:

  • Colposopy.
  • Pelic examaintion.
  • Pap smear.
  • Biopsy.
  • CT scan, MRI scan.

Treatment:

  • Surgery: Surgery includes removal of cancer.
  • Removal of vagina (vaginectomy): It may be either removal of a part of vagina (partial vaginectomy) or entire vagina (total vaginenctomy).
  • Removal of the major part of pelvic organs called pelvic exenteration. It involves removal organs n the pelvic region like bladder, uterus, ovaries, rectum, colon. It is mainly done in the cancer which has spread in the pelvic area.
  • Radiation therapy.
  • Chemotherapy