If vaginal cancer spreads

Cancer cells can spread from the vagina to other parts of the body. This spread is called metastasis.

Understanding how a type of cancer usually grows and spreads helps your healthcare team plan your treatment and future care. If vaginal cancer spreads, it can spread to the following:

  • vaginal wall
  • tissues around the vagina
  • pelvic wall
  • lymph nodes in the pelvis or groin
  • bladder
  • urethra
  • rectum
  • lungs, bones, liver

Spread of other cancers to the vagina is more common than primary cancer of the vagina. Cancers that may spread to the vagina include:

  • cervical (most common)
  • vulvar
  • uterine
  • ovarian
  • urethral
  • bladder
  • rectal
  • malignant trophoblastic disease

If a cancer involves both the cervix and the vagina, it is considered to be a cervical cancer. If a cancer involves both the vulva and the vagina, it is considered to be a vulvar cancer.

Expert review and references

  • American Cancer Society. Vaginal Cancer. 2014: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003146-pdf.pdf.
  • Klopp AH, Eifel PJ, Berek JS, Konstantinopoulos PA . Cancer of the cervix, vagina and vulva. DeVita VT Jr, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA. Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 10th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2015: 72:1013-1047.
  • Oleszewski K . Vulvar and vaginal cancer. Yarbro, CH, Wujcki D, & Holmes Gobel B. (eds.). Cancer Nursing: Principles and Practice. 7th ed. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett; 2011: 69: pp. 1719-1739.