Vaginal cancer

What is vaginal cancer?

Vaginal cancer starts in the cells of the vagina. The most common type of vaginal cancer is squamous cell carcinoma.

Risks for vaginal cancer

Risks for vaginal cancer include human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, exposure to diethystilbestrol (DES) and a history of squamous intraepithelial lesion (SIL).

Finding vaginal cancer early

When vaginal cancer is detected and treated early, the chances of successful treatment are better. Find out what puts you at high risk.

Symptoms of vaginal cancer

Symptoms of vaginal cancer include abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge and painful sexual intercourse. Learn about the symptoms of vaginal cancer.

Diagnosis of vaginal cancer

Tests to diagnose vaginal cancer, such as colposcopy, are done when symptoms or a test or exam suggests a problem. Learn about diagnosing vaginal cancer.

Grading vaginal cancer

Grading is a way of classifying vaginal cancer cells based on their appearance and behaviour when viewed under a microscope. To find out the grade of a tumour, the biopsy sample is examined under a microscope. A grade is given based on how the cancer cells look and behave compared with normal cells.

Stages of vaginal cancer

Staging is a way of describing or classifying a cancer based on the extent of cancer in the body. The most common staging system for vaginal cancer is the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) system. The TNM categories, which correspond to FIGO, may also be used.

If vaginal cancer spreads

Cancer cells have the potential to spread from the vagina to other parts of the body where they can grow into new tumours. This process is called metastasis.

Prognosis and survival for vaginal cancer

Women with vaginal cancer may have questions about their prognosis and survival. Prognosis and survival depend on many factors. Only a doctor familiar with a person’s medical history, type of cancer, stage, characteristics of the cancer, treatments chosen and response to treatment can put all of this information together with survival statistics to arrive at a prognosis.

Treatments for vaginal cancer

Vaginal cancer can be treated with surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

Supportive care for vaginal cancer

Supportive care helps women meet the physical, practical, emotional and spiritual challenges of vaginal cancer. It is an important part of cancer care. There are many programs and services available to help meet the needs and improve the quality of life of people living with cancer and their loved ones, especially after treatment has ended.

Vaginal cancer statistics

Cancer statistics tell us how many people in Canada are diagnosed with and die from other female genital system cancers in a certain time frame.

Medical disclaimer

The information that the Canadian Cancer Society provides does not replace your relationship with your doctor. The information is for your general use, so be sure to talk to a qualified healthcare professional before making medical decisions or if you have questions about your health.

We do our best to make sure that the information we provide is accurate and reliable but cannot guarantee that it is error-free or complete.

The Canadian Cancer Society is not responsible for the quality of the information or services provided by other organizations and mentioned on, nor do we endorse any service, product, treatment or therapy.

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