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Vaginal cancer develops more often among women aged 50 years old or older; however, it can occur at any age. Squamous cell carcinoma. This is the most common cellular change in vaginal cancer, which involves the presence of malignant cells on the thin lining of the vaginal mucosa. Adenocarcinoma. Adenocarcinoma arises from the glandular cells in the vagina, which secretes vaginal fluid. Other subtypes of vaginal cancer include clear cell cancer, which developed among women born between 1938 and 1973, because of the use of diethylstilbestrol (DES) by their mothers. Vaginal cancer is often asymptomatic and the diagnosis is made through a routine gynecologic exam. Abnormal vaginal bleeding that may occur after intercourse, before puberty, between menses and after menopause. Exposure to diethylstilbestrol. Women exposed to DES in utero or who have taken DES, have a high risk for developing vaginal cancer, especially adenocarcinoma of the vagina. Being sbove 50 years of age. Age has been a contributing factor for vaginal cancer because increasing age increases the long-term exposure to certain types of carcinogens, which changes the characteristics of cells.
History of other reproductive system malignancies. Previous malignancies in the reproductive system, specifically cervical cancer, increase the risk for secondary vaginal cancer. Pelvic examination involves the physical examination of the cervix, fallopian tubes, uterus, ovaries, rectum and vagina. Pap smear involves the collection of vaginal and cervical tissues by the use of cotton stick, wooden stick or brush, and subjecting it to examination under a microscope. This procedure involves the visualization of the vagina and cervix through a lighted scope.
Staging of vaginal cancer involves certain tests to determine extent of metastases and size of the tumor. This stage of vaginal cancer involves the presence of malignant cells on the tissues in the vaginal lining. Stage II vaginal cancer involves the spread of the malignant cells in the tissues adjacent to the vagina. In this stage, the cancer cells have already spread on the lymph nodes in the pelvic area and may have spread to other reproductive organs such as the cervix, uterus, fallopian tube and ovaries. Stage IVA- This stage involves the spread of the cancer cells on the bladder or rectum and organs beyond the pelvis such as in the abdominal cavity.
Stage IVB- In this stage, the malignant tumor has already spread to distant areas in the body such as the lungs, breasts, bones and others.
Vaginal cancer, just like any other cancers have three standard treatment regimens, which includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Chemotherapy is usually given as adjunct therapy after surgery to remove all cancer cells that have probably circulated to other parts of the body. This is also an adjunct therapy for surgery to prevent spread of malignant cells and stop the growth of tumors.


Stage 0- May involve wide local excision, laser surgery, total or partial vaginectomy, topical chemotherapy and internal radiation. Stage I- Involves either internal radiation therapy, wide local excision, vaginectomy, vaginal reconstruction, lymphadenectomy or hysterectomy.
Stage II – Treatment may include vaginectomy, pelvic exenteration, internal radiation therapy and external radiation therapy. Stage IV- May involve radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery with trial use of radiosensitizers. The prognosis of vaginal cancer includes factors such as the stage of cancer, tumor size, age, general health condition, recurrence and location of the tumor. The survival rate of cancer, especially of the squamous cell carcinoma type, has a high 5-year survival rate.
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The presence of HPV increases the tendency to develop reproductive system cancers such as cervical and vaginal cancer.
This usually involves insertion of gloved fingers in the vagina, while the other hand palpates the abdomen.
This involves excision of the vaginal tumor and subjecting the specimen for biopsy to determine if the cells are malignant or benign. These tests include Chest X-ray, cystoscopy (visualization of the bladder and urethra), uteroscopy (visualization of the uterus), proctoscopy (visualization of the rectum and sigmoid colon), CT scan, MRI, and lymphangiogram (x-ray of the lymphatic system). Recurrence of vaginal cancer is usually more serious and may reoccur in other areas of the body.
This surgical procedure involves the removal of the tumor along with some normal tissues around it to make sure that all malignant cells are removed.
This type of surgery is used to allow bloodless incisions on the tissue or tumor using a laser beam.
In cases of late stage vaginal cancer, where almost all organs in the pelvic cavity has been affected, removal of the rectum, bladder, descending colon, cervix, ovaries, vagina and adjacent lymph nodes may be done. Removal of the uterus and cervix may be done if the malignant tumor has spread on this area. Radiation therapy uses high energy radiation that may either be placed internally or externally.
Vaginal cancer tends to be more uncommon than other cancers in the reproductive tract. Vaginal cancers treated during the early stage of the disease have far better prognosis. Stage I vaginal cancer has a survival rate of 84%, stage II has 75% and Stage III and IV has a 57% survival rate.


Primary vaginal cancer is the type of cancer wherein the malignant cells initially grow on the vaginal cells.
The exposure to DES increases the risk for squamous cell carcinoma of the vagina and breast cancer in their offspring. Sarcoma botryoides are also found among infants and children, and is a type of a rhabdomyosarcoma. HPV infection is sexually transmitted, which means that having multiple sexual partners increases the risk for HPV infection. Pelvic and groin lymph nodes may be removed to prevent further spread of the malignant cells in the lymphatic circulation.
In this case, a stoma is created for the evacuation of feces and urine from the body into a collection bag.
Removal of the fallopian tubes (salpingectomy) and ovaries (oophorectomy) may also be done as indicated. Systemic chemotherapy involves the administration of chemotherapeutic drugs by mouth or through intravenous infusions. Internal radiation is placed on the tissues affected through seeding, needles, catheters or wires. It is, therefore, essential that vaginal cancer be detected early to increase the survival rate of patients. This surgery is disfiguring and the patient may deal with social and personal difficulties.
Regional chemotherapy is administered through the spinal column, organ or specific body cavity. On the other hand, external radiation involves the exposure of the body to radiation from a machine. However, since vaginal cancer tends to be asymptomatic, more cases are being detected during the late stages, which may be too late. During the pelvic examination, a vaginal speculum is also inserted to check the vagina and cervix. In order to address this, a yearly gynecologic examination is essential for women above 40 years of age.
Lastly, local chemotherapy may involve the topical application of chemotherapeutic drugs on the vaginal wall in cases of Stage I squamous cells carcinoma.



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