Vaginal Cancer – Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

Vaginal cancer is rare cancer that happens in the vagina, the muscular tube that links the uterus with the outer genitals. Vaginal cancer most popularly happens in the cells that line the surface of the vagina, which is often known as the birth canal. While many types of cancer disease can expand to the vagina from other places in the body, cancer that begins in the vagina is rare. A diagnosis of early-stage vaginal cancer has the best chance for a cure. Vaginal cancer that expands beyond the vagina is much more tough to treat.

Vaginal Cancer Symptoms

Primary vaginal cancer may not create any signs and symptoms. As it increases, vaginal cancer symptoms like:

1) Unusual vaginal bleeding, for an instant, after intercourse or after menopause
2) Watery vaginal discharge
3) A lump or mass in the vagina
4) Painful urination
5) Frequent urination
6) Constipation problem
7) Pelvic pain

Doctor Consultation

Consult the doctor if you have any signs and symptoms associated with vaginal cancer, like abnormal vaginal bleeding. Since vaginal cancer does not always make signs and symptoms, follow the doctor’s suggestions about when you should have routine pelvic tests.

Causes of Vaginal Cancer

It is unclear what causes of vaginal cancer. In general, cancer starts when healthy cells acquire a genetic mutation that converts normal cells into abnormal cells. Healthy cells develop and multiply at a set rate, ultimately dying at a set time. Cancer cells increase and multiply out of control, and they do not die. The accumulating abnormal cells form a mass. Vaginal cancer cells cause invade nearby tissues and can break off from a primary tumor to expand elsewhere in the body.

Types of Vaginal Cancer

Vaginal cancer is divided into different types depends on the type of cell where cancer started. Vaginal cancer types involve:

1) Vaginal squamous cell carcinoma, which starts in the thin, flat cells that line the surface of the vagina, and is the most popular type
2) Vaginal adenocarcinoma, which starts in the glandular cells on the surface of the vagina
3) Vaginal melanoma, which grows in the pigment-producing cells of the vagina
4) Vaginal sarcoma, which grows in the connective tissue cells or muscles cells in the walls of the vagina

Vaginal Cancer Complications

Vaginal cancer complications may expand to distant parts of the body, like the lungs, liver, and bones.

Diagnosis of Vaginal Cancer

1) Screening for vaginal cancer
2) Tests to diagnose vaginal cancer
3) Staging of vaginal cancer

Vaginal Cancer Treatment

The treatment of vaginal cancer based on many factors, involving the type of vaginal cancer you have and its stage. You and the doctor work together to understand what treatments are best for you to depend on the goals of treatment and the side effects you are willing to endure. Treatment of vaginal cancer generally includes surgery and radiation.

1) Surgery
2) Radiation Therapy
3) Other options
4) Supportive care

Prevention of Vaginal Cancer

There is no sure way to prevent vaginal cancer. However, you may minimize the chance if you:

1) Undergo daily pelvic tests and Pap tests: You can enhance the chance that vaginal cancer is discovered early by having routine pelvic tests and Pap tests. When found in its earliest stages, vaginal cancer is more likely to be cured. Discuss with the doctor when to start these exams and how often to repeat them.
2) Discuss the doctor about the HPV vaccine: Getting a vaccination to prevent HPV infection may minimize the chance of vaginal cancer and other HPV-related cancers. Consult the doctor whether an HPV vaccine is right for you.
3) Do not smoke: If you smoke, quit. If you do not smoke, do not try to start. Smoking enhances the chance of vaginal cancer.

Updated: January 20, 2020 — 12:41 pm

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