What is the Vagina?
Commonly called as the birth canal, the vagina is a muscular and elastic tube that joins the uterus to the outside of the body. It is about 4 inches long and 1 inch in diameter. It is responsible for allowing the passage of a child during birth, for sexual intercourse, and for the release of menstrual fluids.
Women can develop cancer in their vaginas. It’s a very rare disease found in women.
What is Vaginal Cancer?
Cancer of the vagina is a rare kind of cancer in women. Fewer women are diagnosed with this type of cancer every year.
Basically, there are two main types of vaginal cancer. Those start in the vagina itself – the primary vaginal cancer and those that spread into the vagina from another part of the body – secondary vaginal cancer.
Primary Vaginal Cancer
The primary vaginal cancers are further divided into two and are named after the cells from which they develop:
Squamous cell – It is the most common type of vaginal cancer. It is normally found in the upper part of the vagina, and most commonly affects women.
Adenocarcinoma – Usually affects the women under 20, but may occur in the other age groups also.
Secondary Vaginal Cancer
Secondary Vaginal Cancer is more common than primary vaginal cancer and is usually develop from the neck of the womb, the lining of the womb or from nearby organs such as the bladder.
Vaginal Cancer Symptoms:
The most common symptoms of vaginal cancer include:
- Blood-stained vaginal discharge
- Bleeding after sexual intercourse
- And Pain
- Problem in passing urine
All these symptoms may or may not relate to vaginal cancer.
Vaginal Cancer Statistics
Vaginal cancer is a very rare cancer found in women and accounts for about 3% of cancers of the female reproductive system.
Cancers that are found in the vagina are less usual than the cancers that start in other organs part of the body and then spread across vagina.
Risk Factors for Vaginal Cancer?
The most common risk factors of developing vaginal cancer could be one of these: age, prescription of diethylstilbestrol, and have already been diagnosed with cervical cancer etc.
Age the common risk factor for squamous cell. Most of the women who are diagnosed with squamous cell are diagnosed during the ages of 50 and 70.
Diethylstilbestrol is a hormonal drug that was prescribed between 1940 to 1971 for some women thought to be at increased risk for miscarriages.
Patient’s who has cervical cancer has a high risk of developing vaginal squamous cell cancer.
Methods of Vaginal Cancer Treatment
The most common methods of treatment for vaginal cancer are surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy and usually depend upon the type or size of the cancer, the age and where the cancer is located.
Surgical treatment may be used to remove the part or the entire pancreas, and any surrounding tissue that has become cancerous. It is the primary method of treatment for vaginal cancer or any other type of cancer.
Surgery options include:
This involves an operation; an operation is done to remove the cancer. Surgery is often done if the cancer is only in one part of the body and has not spread across. The type of operation will depend on the area of body which is affected by the cancer and also on the size and the position of the cancer.
Radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) is the use of high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells.
Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells.
How is Vaginal Cancer Diagnosed?
Internal vaginal examination
The doctor will do a full pelvic examination. This will include examining the inside of your vagina to check for any lumps or swellings. The doctor will also feel your groin and pelvic area to check for any swollen glands.
You may have a smear or liquid-based cytology test to see if there are any abnormal in the cells of the cervix.
Sample of tissue will be taken for examination from abnormal areas. The sample will be examined under a microscope to help detect the possible cancer.