Vaginal cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the vagina.
Vaginal cancer is rare, especially in women under 40
Early vaginal cancer may not cause any signs and symptoms. Symptoms of vaginal cancer include:
- Unusual vaginal bleeding, for example, after intercourse or after menopause
- Smelly or blood stained vaginal discharge
- A lump or itch in your vagina that won’t go away
- Painful urination
- Pelvic pain
Researchers do not yet know the exact causes of vaginal cancer. They have, however, identified several risk factors for developing vaginal cancer.
These risk factors include:
- Older age. Most people who are diagnosed with vaginal cancer are older than 60.
- HPV infection. Contracting the human papilloma virus increases risk.
- Hysterectomy. Women who have had a hysterectomy are statistically more likely to get vaginal cancer.
- A history of cervical cancer. Cervical cancer diagnosis is a risk factor for vaginal cancer.
- Early age at first intercourse
- HIV infection
If you have any signs or symptoms that you worry, you should see your doctor.
Your doctor may:
- Ask about medications you are using
- Ask about sexual practices and family history
- Look and feel for abnormalities in your pelvic area
- Make a pap smear test
The main treatments for vaginal cancer are: