Vaginal cancer is a uncommon type of cancer that occurs on surface of your vagina. Vaginal cancer which accounting for about 1% of malignant tumor of female genital organs. About 5,000 new cases of vaginal cancer appear each year and 1,000 deaths from vaginal cancer in the United States.
Most commonly, other cancer can begin in other parts of your body and spread to your vagina, the cancer is called metastatic (secondary) vaginal cancer; Vaginal cancer that begins in your vagina is very rare, the cancer is called primary vaginal cancer.
Most Women with vaginal cancer have no signs or symptoms in the early stages of vaginal cancer, but the development as the vaginal cancer and exasperate degree, the vaginal cancer symptoms can become more obvious, including:
You notice vaginal bleeding after intercourse or menopause, this is the most common symptom.
Vaginal discharge wiht smells or blood.
You can feel some lumps or growth in your vagina, which look like small lumps or ulcers, the lumps is usually locates at the upper third of the vagina (close to the cervix).
You have a pain during intercourse.
You feel a pain or difficulty during urination.
Have a pruritus (itch) in Vagina, which gradually become more frequent
You may have a pain in back legs or pelvic.
Tip: There are many other diseases that cause these symptoms, not just vaginal cancer, but if you have any of these symptoms or signs, you should see your doctor, then they can examine your vagina. Read more >>
The 5 year survival rate means what percent of women live at least 5 years after diagnosis. For example, 5-year survival rate is 90% means that 90 out of 100 women survive for 5 years after the vaginal cancer is found... Read more >>
Vaginal cancer was divided into 4 stages according to FIGO:
Stage 0: The cancer cells only grow in the first layer of cells lining the vagina, but has not spread to the wall of the vagina.
Stage 1: The cancer cells have spread into the the vaginal wall but have not spread through the wall of vagina.
Stage 2: The cancer cells have spread through the vaginal wall but have not spread to the walls of the pelvis.
Stage 3: The cancer cells have spread to the walls of the pelvis or spread to the lymph nodes near the vagina and the pelvis.
Stage 4: The cancer cells have spread to other organs, include the bladder, rectum, small intestine, outside the vagina and the pelvis, lung, brain, etc.
We don't know exactly what causes vaginal cancer, but we know the main risk factors are associated with vaginal cancer, including:
Age: Most cases of vaginal cancer occur in women age 50 and older.It's very unusual for vaginal cancer occur in young women. Read more >>
VAIN: VAIN is called vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia. If you have VAIN, your risk of vaginal cancer is increased. About 90% of Vaginal cancer patients who have VAIN. Read more >>
HPV (Human papilloma virus): HPV may increase your risk of developing vaginal cancer. About 70% to 80% of vaginal cancer patients are linked to infection with HPV. Read more >>
Diethylstilbestrol: Women whose mothers took DES (diethylstilbestrol) when shey became pregnant have an increased risk of vaginal cancer . Read more >>
HIV: HIV is associated with an increased risk of vaginal cancer. Read more >>
Cervix and Uterine disease: such as uterine cancer and cervical cancer, abnormal cells in the uterus and cervix, hysterectomy(womb is removed) and so on. These disease may increases your risk of vaginal cancer.
Smoking: Smoking may affect your risk of vaginal cancer.
Radiation: If you received radiation therapy in pelvic region, which may increases your risk of developing vaginal cancer.
Many partners: Women who have had many partners are prone to various gynecological diseases, which will raise risk of vaginal cancer.
No sure way can prevent you from getting vaginal cancer, but you can reduce your risk of vaginal cancer by changing life style.
HPV vaccine: HPV vaccine will help keep your risk for HPV infection as low as possible, thereby effectively preventing vaginal cancer. HPV vaccine is available for women ages 14 to 27 years.
Clean living: Avoiding multiple partners and people who have had many partners.
Use condoms: A women who wants to protect herself can don a condom, although which cannot fully prevent you from getting HPV and HIV, but the condom can effectively reduce your risk for these virus infection.
Gynecological examinations: The women should regularly go to the hospital
for pap tests and pelvic exams, which will promote the prevention and early detection of gynecological cancer (such as cervical cancer,vaginal cancer and so on).
Quit smoking: smoking may increase your risk of developing vaginal cancer.
Your treatment plan depends on the type of vaginal cancer, stage, and your healthy condition. The primary treatment methods for vaginal cancer are surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Surgical options include:
This method is suitable for VAIN (vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia).
Remove early-stage cancers
This method is suitable for stage 1 vaginal cancer.
This method is suitable for stage 2 or 3 vaginal cancer.
Removing your vagina, womb, cervix, bladder, colon
This method is suitable for stage 3 or 4 vaginal cancer.
Radiation therapy uses radioactive ray (such as X-rays, Proton rays) to weaken and kill cancer cells in your vagina that may stick around after surgery.
Chemotherapy uses anti cancer drugs to destroy vaginal cancer cells.
For early stage vaginal cancer such as stage 0 and stage 1, Doctor may put anti cancer drugs into your vagina. But in most cases, anti cancer drugs are given intravenously.
Like other cancer, vaginal cancer treatment options depends on its stages.
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