Vaginal Cancer

Vaginal cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the vagina. The vagina is the canal leading from the cervix (the opening of uterus) to the outside of the body. At birth, a baby passes out of the body through the vagina (also called the birth canal).

There are two main types of vaginal cancer: squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. Risk factors for vaginal cancer include being aged 60 or older, being exposed to DES while in the mother’s womb, human papilloma virus (HPV) infection, and having a history of abnormal cells in the cervix or cervical cancer.

What are the signs of virginal cancer?

As it progresses, vaginal cancer may cause signs and symptoms such as:

  • Unusual vaginal bleeding, for example, after intercourse or after menopause.
  • Watery vaginal discharge.
  • A lump or mass in your vagina.
  • Painful urination.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Constipation.
  • Pelvic pain.

How Is Vaginal Cancer Diagnosed?

Your doctor may conduct a pelvic exam and Pap test to check for abnormalities that may indicate vaginal cancer. Based on those findings, your doctor may conduct other procedures to determine whether you have vaginal cancer, such as:

  • Colposcopy is an examination of your vagina with a special lighted magnifying instrument called a colposcope. Colposcopy allows your doctor to magnify the surface of your vagina to see any areas of abnormal cells.
  • Biopsy is a procedure to remove a sample of suspicious tissue to test for cancer cells. Your doctor may take a biopsy of tissue during a colposcopy exam. Your doctor sends the tissue sample to a laboratory for testing.

How Vaginal Cancer is treated?

Vaginal Cancer is treated with surgery to remove the cancer and a small amount of healthy tissue around the cancer. Minimally invasive surgery may be possible in cases where the disease isn’t widespread. Surgery may also include removing lymph nodes to check for signs of cancer. When the cancer has spread throughout the reproductive system, a hysterectomy will be performed to remove the ovaries, cervix and uterus.

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about

DR Chitrathara K

HOD & Senior Consultant in Surgical & Gynaec Oncology. VPS Lakeshore Kochi
Specialized in gynecological, urological, and breast cancer surgeries.

  • Actively participated in the development of surgical oncology as a separate speciality in Kerala
  •  First lady Urologist of Kerala.
  • Started Kerala's first Gynaecological Cancer Surgery unit at Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram in 1993 & urological oncology in 2009.
  • Authored malayalam book “ Sthreekalile Arbudam-Ariyendathellam” published in 2014 by DC books
  • Editor of the following books - Ovarian Cancer (2008), Cervical cancer (2010) and Uterine Cancer (2015).

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