A One-on-One Approach to Vaginal Cancer Treatment

Only about 1 of every 1,100 women will develop a rare vaginal cancer during her lifetime. Despite the odds, it is vital to have state-of-the-art treatment close to home, which is why so many people count on our hospitals for cancer care in New Jersey.

Most of these cancers are known as vaginal squamous cell carcinomas, which originate in squamous cells that make up the vagina’s epithelial lining. Other types include adenocarcinomas, which originate in vaginal glands; malignant melanomas, a skin cancer on the outer part of the vagina; and sarcomas, which develop in the muscular wall of your vagina.

Vaginal Cancer Symptoms

Symptoms and signs of vaginal cancer may include:

  • Watery vaginal discharge.
  • A mass or lump in your vagina.
  • Frequent and/or painful urination
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding; e.g. after menopause or intercourse
  • Pelvic pain
  • Constipation

Vaginal Cancer Causes

While it is not entirely clear just what are the exact mechanisms/causes underlying vaginal cancer, it is believed that the following may be contributing factors:

  • Human papilloma virus (HPV). This sexually transmitted disease is believed to be the most common cause of vaginal cancer.
  • Previous incidence of cervical cancer (which also may have been caused by infection by HPV).
  • In-utero exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES). This is now extremely rare since this medication has not been prescribed since the 1970’s.

Vaginal Cancer Diagnosis

The following tests are commonly used to detect if a woman has vaginal cancer:

  • Colposcopy
  • Pap test
  • Imaging tests such as computed tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or positron emission tomography (PET) scan
  • Biopsy

Other tests may be performed after the initial diagnosis to better pinpoint the type and stage of cancer.

Vaginal Cancer Treatment

Vaginal cancer treatmentoptions can include chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy such as brachytherapy, immunotherapy, or clinical trials. Talk to your doctor about the many options available so you can devise a customized treatment plan that you can feel good about.

To contact one of New Jersey’s best gynecologic cancer specialists call
844-CANCERNJ or 844-226-2376.

Patient Stories

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