Jan 7, 2018

Vaginal Cancer: Symptoms, Signs, Causes, And Treatments

symptoms of vaginal cancer , signs of vaginal cancer-healthinews

Vaginal cancer is a rare type of cancer, which appears in the vagina. Women aged 60 years or older, and have been exposed to drugs type DES (diethylstilbestrol) while still fetus, have the risk of contracting vaginal cancer.

The likelihood of recovery from vaginal cancer depends on the diagnosis (earlier diagnosed with a greater likelihood of cure), health condition and age of the patient.

There are two types of vaginal cancer:
Secondary vaginal cancer is cancer that first appeared in other body parts, but spread to the vagina.
Primary vaginal cancer is cancer that first appeared in the vagina. Less common than secondary vaginal cancer.

Performing a vaginal examination (pap smear) every three years is highly recommended for women aged 25 to 49 years, and for women aged 50 to 64 years do the examination every five years.

Symptoms and Signs of Vaginal Cancer

Some common signs and symptoms of vaginal cancer are:

  • Appears an itch or there is a lump in the vagina.
  • Bleeding after menopause. 
  • Bleeding outside the menstrual cycle, or after having sex.
  • Constipation.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Pain during intercourse and urination.
  • Pain in the pelvic cavity.
  • Urine mixed with blood.
  • Whitish fluid containing blood and smells.

Causes and Risk Factors of Vaginal Cancer

In addition to age factor and exposure to drugs type DES (diethylstilbestrol), there are some things that increase a person's risk of vaginal cancer, namely:
  • Active smoker.
  • Alternating pairs.
  • Ever had cancer in the reproductive organs.
  • Ever undergone the procedure of hysterectomy.
  • Have intercourse first at a young age.
  • Infected with HPV ( human papillomavirus ) or HIV ( human immunodeficiency virus ).
  • It has cell abnormalities in the vagina.

Diagnosis of Vaginal Cancer

  • Blood tests, to ensure that there is no infection in the vagina.
  • Pap test or Pap smear.
  • Colposcopy and biopsy. The act of inspection in which a special instrument used to examine the vagina in more detail. When there is vaginal tissue that is suspected of cancer tissue, will be taken as a sample (biopsy) and sent to the laboratory.
  • Imaging tests. The doctor will probably advise patients to undergo Imaging tests to see the growth and spread of cancer, such as x-rays, MRI, CT scans, and PET.
  • Camera. Imaging tests, just like a small camera inserted into the patient's body to see the growth and spread of cancer.

Stadiums of Vaginal Cancer

Vaginal Cancer stage can be determined by the use of camera and Imaging tests, here are stadiumnya levels:

Stage 1 – cancer only grows on the walls of the vagina.
Stage 2 – cancer began spreading out the vagina on the surrounding tissues.
Stage 3 – cancer has spread to the pelvis and may have also spread to the nearby lymph nodes.
Stage 4a – cancer has spread out the vagina up to the surrounding organs such as the bladder or rectum.
Stage 4b-- cancer has spread to more distant organs such as the lungs.

Prevention Of Vaginal Cancer  

There is no sure way to prevent cancer of the vagina, but there are some things that can reduce the risk of developing cancer of the vagina, i.e.:

  • Do not smoke.
  • A pelvic examination and Pap smear regularly. Regular inspections are conducted so that cancer can be diagnosed as early as possible.
  • HPV Vaccination. Get the HPV vaccination could reduce the risk of getting HPV related cancers, including cancer of the vagina.

Vaginal Cancer Treatment 

There are three types of vaginal cancer handling. The type of treatment that is done depends on how the rapid spread of cancer inside the vagina and its position.


This is the main way of handling for cancer of the vagina. There are two types of radiotherapy, namely:

External radiotherapy. A radiotherapy machine will be firing high-energy rays to the vagina and pelvis.
Internal radiotherapy. Small-sized radiotherapy instrument will be inserted into the vagina.  Handling radiotherapy has some side effects for the patient, namely:

Loss of sexual desire.
Menopause comes sooner.
Narrowing of the vagina.
Pain while urinating.
Skin redness like a fire.
Vaginal discharge.

Surgery and Appointment Of Cancer

To deal with the cancer of the vagina, there are four types of surgery can be done as follows:

Vaginectomy partial. Surgery to remove the upper part of the vagina. Patients can relate intimate after recovering.

Vaginectomy radical. Surgery to remove the entire vaginal and pelvic lymph nodes. After recovering, patients undergoing vaginal reconstruction is recommended, so that it can be sex, but should always use sex lubricant.

Vaginectomy and radical hysterectomy. Surgery is done to remove all parts of the vagina, ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes and pelvic lymph nodes.

Pelvic exenteration. Surgery to remove the entire vagina and surrounding tissues of the body, including the bladder and rectum.


Usually, vaginal cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy as a combination to control symptoms when the cancer is incurable. Drugs used in chemotherapy can also result in side effects, namely:

Hair loss.
The increased risk of infection.

Because the number of patients with cancer of the vagina very little, then the patient may be asked to take part in the clinical trial program. The program serves to try to find the best way to handle vaginal cancer.