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What Is Vaginal Cancer? Causes and Treatment

 When cells in the body start to proliferate uncontrollably, cancer begins vaginal . Cancerous cells can originate from almost any portion of the body and spread to other parts as well. See What Is Cancer? to find out more about the causes and progression of cancer.

What Is Vaginal Cancer?

The vaginal , a muscular tube that connects the uterus to the external genitalia, is the site of a rare kind of cancer called vaginal cancer. Squamous cell carcinomas, which originate in the squamous cells lining the vaginal surface, account for the majority of vaginal malignancies. Sarcomas, melanomas, and adenocarcinomas are other forms of vaginal cancer.

Causes of vaginal cancer

 Although the precise etiology of vaginal cancer is frequently unknown, there are a number of risk factors that have been found to raise the possibility of getting this uncommon illness. It's crucial to remember that the presence of one or more risk factors does not ensure the development of vaginal cancer; in fact, people without recognized risk factors may nevertheless get a diagnosis of the disease. The following are a few known risk factors for vaginal cancer:

Most instances of vaginal cancer occur in women over 60, and the disease is most frequently identified in older women.
Infection with the Human Papillomavirus (HPV):

Persistent infection with high-risk strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) is a substantial risk factor for vaginal cancer. Certain strains of HPV, a sexually transmitted virus, have been connected to the emergence of vaginal and cervical malignancies.


There is evidence linking smoking to a higher risk of vaginal cancer. The compounds in tobacco smoke may have a role in the development of malignant alterations in the vaginal cells.

Exposure to Diethylstilbestrol (DES) intrauterine:

Women who were exposed to the synthetic estrogen diethylstilbestrol (DES) during pregnancy or just before giving birth are more likely to develop clear cell adenocarcinoma, a rare form of vaginal cancer.

History of Cervical Dysplasia or Abnormal Pap Smears:

Women who have experienced abnormal Pap screenings or cervical dysplasia in the past may be more susceptible to vaginal cancer.

Intraepithelial Neoplasia in the Vagina (VAIN):

Vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia (VAIN), precancerous alterations in the vaginal cells, may raise the risk of vaginal cancer.

Additional Cancers:

An increased risk of vaginal cancer may be linked to a history of certain malignancies, such as vulvar or cervical cancer.


  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding (especially after menopause)
  • Vaginal discharge that is watery, bloody, or with a foul odor
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Pelvic pain
  • A lump or mass in the vagina
  • Frequent urination or constipation


Examining the Pelvic Floor:

Often, the first step in the diagnosis of vaginal cancer is a pelvic examination.

Pap Smear:

A Pap test can identify abnormal cells in the cervix or vagina.


Usually carried out to confirm the diagnosis, a biopsy entails taking a little sample of tissue for analysis.

Imaging Examinations:

The extent of the malignancy may be ascertained by imaging tests like MRIs or CT scans.


  1. Surgery:

    • Surgery is a common treatment and may involve removing part or all of the vagina, nearby lymph nodes, and surrounding tissues.
  2. Radiation Therapy:

    • Radiation therapy may be used to target and destroy cancer cells.
  3. Chemotherapy:

    • Chemotherapy drugs may be used to kill cancer cells or stop their growth.
  4. Targeted Therapy:

    • Targeted therapy drugs may be used to block specific pathways involved in cancer growth.
  5. Hormone Therapy:

    • Hormone therapy may be considered for certain types of vaginal cancer.

The stage at which vaginal cancer is detected and the particular features of the tumor are two of the many variables that affect the prognosis. Results can be improved with early identification and rapid treatment. If you or someone you know is having symptoms or has worries about vaginal cancer, it is crucial to get medical assistance for accurate assessment and diagnosis.

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