What is vaginal cancer?
Vaginal cancer is the rarest of the gynaecological cancers and is diagnosed in 250-300 women a year in the UK, with over 70% of diagnoses in women over 60. Vaginal cancer is a skin cancer which is caused by a cell changing its growth pattern, causing it to increase in size each time it replicates. Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection is one of the main causative factor.
What are the symptoms of vaginal cancer?
Usually there are no symptoms at all but can include:
- Abnormal smear is the commonest presentation as sometimes the vaginal cells are picked up on a cervical smear
- Persistent vaginal itch
- Smelly or blood tinted vaginal discharge
- Pain when urinating
- A vaginal lump
How is vaginal cancer treated?
Much like other gynaecological cancers, treatment depends on where the cancer is located and how far it has spread. Possible treatments include internal or external radiotherapy dependent on the location of the cancer, surgery, or chemotherapy.
Treatment usually is combination of radiotherapy and chemotherapy and rarely is surgery, dependant on stage and access to the tumour.
I have been diagnosed with vaginal cancer, what do I need to know?
It is important to assess whether the cancer has arisen from the vagina or spread from other pelvic organs (such as womb or cervix) to the vagina. Treatment strategy will depend on this assessment. The outlook of vaginal cancer varies and individualised, holistic care is vital.
What are my chances of beating this cancer?
Vaginal cancer may be cured if caught early (stage 1). If the cancer is not diagnosed in an early stage, many treatments are available to relieve the symptoms for several years.
What can you do minimise your risks?
We advise you to seek advice from your GP or contact our consultant gynaecologist team for a consultation if you are concerned about any symptoms.
Make an appointment
We are pleased to have introduced online booking which allows patients to book directly with any member of team if you are concerned. For appointment enquiries, please call our team on 020 7101 1700. or email [email protected] or visit our online booking portal here.