VAGINAL CANCER

Description

  • Rare cancer that occurs in the vagina
  • Most commonly occurs in the cells that line the surface of the vagina
  • Diagnosis of early-stage has the best chance of a cure

Symptoms

  • Bleeding between periods
  • Bleeding after menopause
  • Smelly or bloody vaginal discharge
  • Pain during sex
  • Pain when urinating
  • Needing to urinate more frequently than usual
  • Blood in the urine
  • Pelvic pain
  • An itch or lump in the vagina
  • Constipation

Causes

  • Exact cause is unknown
  • Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
  • Abnormal cells in the cervix or vagina
  • A medicine called diethylstilbestrol

Risk Factors

  • Increasing age
  • Exposure to miscarriage prevention drugs
  • Multiple sexual partners
  • Early age at first intercourse
  • Smoking
  • HIV infection

Diagnostic Tests

  • Routine pelvic examination
  • Pap smear
  • Biopsy
  • Colposcopy
  • CT Scan
  • Staging

Treatment

  • Removal of small tumors or lesions
  • Removal of the vagina (vaginectomy)
  • Removal of the majority of the pelvic organs
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Clinical trials
  • Palliative care

Prevention

  • Get pelvic examined regularly
  • Go for regular pap smear tests
  • Have safe sex
  • Keep the vaginal area clean
  • Do not change partners frequently
  • Get regularly checked for STIs

Lifestyle Management

  • Learn enough about the cancer to make decisions
  • Maintain intimacy with the partner
  • Join a support group
  • Have a positive outlook
  • Go for regular check-ups
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Do not smoke