Vaginal Cancer

This is a disease in which malignant (cancerous) cells form in the vagina.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
The commonest sign is painless vaginal bleeding. Others are
-abnormal bleeding, between periods, or after sex, or after menopause
-pain in the pelvis
-lump in the vagina
-pain during urinating
-constipation
-pain in the rectum

However, it does not usually present with symptoms, is detedted during a routine gynecologic examination.

The exact cause is unknown, but has been linked to risk factors such as
-Smoking
-60 years or more
-Being infected with the human papiloma virus
-Being exposed to drugs such as DES (diethylstilbestrol). DES is a drug administered to pregnant mothers to manage miscarriages.
-Having had a hysterectomy (surgery to remove the womb)

There are two main types of vaginal cancer
1. Primary: cancer occurs in the vagina
2. Secondary: cancer spreads to other parts of the reproductive system such as the cervix, womb, vulva, bladder etc

Vaginal cancer is not infectious, and cannot be passed on to another.

It is not caused by an inherited gene, and cannot be passed on to children.

There are four stages, and when detected in the early stages, can be treated with chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery.

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