Vaginal cancer

What is vaginal cancer?
Vaginal cancer is a rare cancer that affects the vagina, the canal inside the body from which a baby passes out of during birth.

What causes vaginal cancer?
The exact cause of uterine cancer remains unknown, but a few factors have been identified why may increase the risk of a woman developing it:
• Being infected with HPV
• Older age (60 years and above)
• Previous history of cervical cancer or abnormal cells in the cervix (usually found through Pap smears)

Having one or more of these risk factors does not mean that a woman will definitely get vaginal cancer but can increase her chances of developing it.

What are the symptoms of vaginal cancer?
Common symptoms of vaginal cancer may include the following, although these can also be indicative of other conditions:
• Abnormal vaginal bleeding or spotting
• Pain in the pelvis
• Pain during sexual intercourse
• A lump in the vagina

How is vaginal cancer diagnosed?
At KHCC, a variety of diagnostic techniques are used to accurately detect and stage vaginal cancer including:
• Pelvic exam to check the uterus, vagina, and nearby tissues for any lumps or changes in shape or size.
• biopsy to test for any abnormalities
• Pap smear to test for abnormal cells
• CT scan or MRI scan help in accurately staging the disease

How is vaginal cancer treated at KHCC?
At KHCC, a team of highly specialized oncologists, surgeons and gynecologists handle the treatment of vaginal cancer patients. The treating physician will present the case to the MDC panel who will determine the right treatment for the patient depending on how much the cancer has spread throughout the body.

Treatment options will vary depending on the size of the tumor and stage of diagnosis, as well as the age and general health of the patient. Treatments for vaginal cancer include: varying degrees of surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

At KHCC, vaginal cancer patients receive top quality care from a multidisciplinary team of gynecology oncology specialists that is entirely devoted to diagnosing and treating gynecology cancers.

Supportive Care
The gynecology cancer multidisciplinary clinic works in close cooperation with other departments at KHCC so that vaginal cancer patients receive the most comprehensive care possible. Supportive care services at KHCC include: