Vaginal cancer most commonly occurs in the cells that line the surface of your vagina. There are several kinds of cancer that can spread to your vagina, but the cancer that begins in your vagina, called primary vaginal cancer, is rare. Schedule an appointment with the best GYN in East New York at Doral Health and Wellness – Women’s Health Center.
There are different types of vaginal cancer, and they were named after the cells in your vagina where the cancer is starting:
- Adenocarcinoma – this type of cancer begins at the gland cells of your vagina. This is common in women who are over 50 years old.
- Squamous cell carcinoma – this type of cancer begins in your squamous cells, which are the flat cells that line your vagina. This is the most common type of vaginal cancer that accounts for over 80% of all cases of vaginal cancer.
- Sarcoma – this type of vaginal cancer begins in your vaginal wall, which is made up of connective tissue and muscle tissue. This type of vaginal cancer is extremely rare. There are two types of sarcomas; rhabdomyosarcoma, which is most common in children, and leiomyosarcoma which often occurs in women who are 50 years old.
- Melanoma – this type of vaginal cancer starts in the cells that give color to your vagina. Like sarcoma, vaginal melanoma is also extremely rare.
Vaginal cancer will not always cause you symptoms until your doctor notices the abnormal cells during your regular checkup. This is why getting regular checkups is especially important. If you go to your regular checkup, your doctor will be able to detect some changes even before your body alerts you that there is something wrong. But when symptoms occur, they may include:
- A mass in your vagina
- Vaginal discharge
- Vaginal bleeding, which is non-menstruation related, after sexual intercourse
- Vaginal bleeding even after menopause
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Painful urination
- An urge to poop even after emptying your bowels
- Pelvic pain
Although having these symptoms is not an indicative sign that you have vaginal cancer, it is still important that you seek professional recommendations about routine pelvic exams that can give you a definitive diagnosis.
Some cases of vaginal cancer don’t have a clear cause, but some are linked to the HPV (Human Papillomavirus) or the human papillomavirus. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease that most often goes away on its own, but if left untreated could cause and lead to cervical and vaginal cancer.
You also have an increased risk of developing vaginal cancer if you:
- Are 60 years old or older
- Drink alcohol
- Have cervical cancer or precancerous lesions
- Have unusual cells in your vagina called vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia
You and your doctor will discuss the course of treatment best for your condition.
- Surgery – This is the most common treatment for all kinds of cancer. In treating vaginal cancer, your doctor will use a laser to cut out tissues or growths or in some cases, they might remove all parts of your vagina. You might also need a hysterectomy to remove your cervix
- Radiation therapy – This treatment uses high-powered X-rays or other forms of radiation to destroy cancer cells
- Chemotherapy – This treatment uses drugs to kill cancer cells, but this alone cannot treat vaginal cancer effectively. Chemotherapy is used alongside radiation to boost its effectivity
There is no known prevention for vaginal cancer, but you can reduce its risk. You should get regular pelvic exams and Pap tests and get the HPV vaccine, quitting smoking is also an immense help in reducing your risk of developing vaginal cancer.
To know more about vaginal cancer, please schedule your appointment today at Doral Health and Wellness – Women’s Health Center. We help diagnose and run tests for any gynecological problems. We work with our patients in diagnosing and formulating treatment plans for the condition. To book an appointment, you can visit us at 1797 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, or call us on 1-347-384–5690 or 347-955-3465. You can also visit our website to book an appointment online at https://doralhw.org or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any queries.