Vaginal cancer is a rare cancer that occurs in the vagina. The vagina is a muscular tube that connects the uterus with the outer genitals. Vaginal cancer occurs mostly in the cells lining the surface of the vagina. It mostly occurs in women older than 60 years of age. Almost half of the cases of vaginal cancer are found in women over 70. Only about 15 percent of cases of vaginal cancer are diagnosed in women aged less than 40 years. Several types of vaginal tumor treatment in Nashik are available, especially at advanced cancer centers.
Types of Vaginal Cancer
- Squamous cell carcinoma: This cancer develops on the lining of the vagina. It accounts for around 85% of vaginal cancer cases.
- Adenocarcinoma: It occurs in vaginal gland tissues. It accounts for around 5 to 10 percent of the total cases of vaginal cancer.
- Melanoma: It occurs in those cells of the vagina that are responsible for producing pigments responsible for skin color.
- Sarcoma: It is developed in the muscle cells or cells of connective tissue of the vagina.
Symptoms of Vaginal Cancer
The symptoms of vaginal cancer are:
- Painful urination
- Increased urination frequency
- Pain in the pelvic area
- Watery discharge from the vagina
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Bleeding after having sexual intercourse
- The feeling of having mass inside the vagina
If you have the above symptoms and are concerned about vaginal cancer, you should consult a doctor. At HCG, we have some of the best doctors for vaginal cancer treatment in Nashik.
Causes of Vaginal Cancer
There is no clarity about the exact reason for vaginal cancer. However, some factors increase the risk of vaginal cancer, such as:
- Exposed to DES (Diethylstilbestrol) as fetus
- Have an HIV infection
- Age 60 years or above
- Drink alcohol in excessive amounts.
- History of cervical cancer or any genital cancer
Diagnosis of Vaginal Cancer
The diagnosis of vaginal cancer can be made through the following technique:
- Routine pelvic examination: Sometimes, vaginal cancer can be found during the routine pelvic examination, even before any signs and symptoms occur. It can be done by inserting two fingers into the vagina, and the doctor will try to feel the uterus and the ovaries by pressing the abdomen.
- Inspecting the vagina with a magnifying glass: This procedure is called colposcopy. A doctor uses a special instrument, a colposcope, to examine the vagina.
- Biopsy: It is the procedure of removing a sample from the vagina to inspect for the presence of cancerous cells.
- PAP test: This test shows any presence of cancerous cells inside the vagina.
- Imaging tests: The doctor may also recommend imaging tests like X-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans. These tests help obtain a clear image of the internal organs and tissues.
Treatment for Vaginal Cancer
HCG Manavata is one of the best hospitals for vaginal cancer in Nashik; the following treatment options available for vaginal cancer management:
- Vaginectomy: Vaginectomy means the removal of the vagina. If the entire vagina is removed, then it is called radical vaginectomy. If a part of the vagina is removed, it is called partial vaginectomy. The choice of surgery depends upon the extent to which cancer has spread in the vagina.
- Removal of small tumors and lesions: This procedure is done when the cancer is diagnosed in its early stage, and its spread is limited to the walls of the vagina. The surgeon removes the cancerous cells along with some of the healthy tissues from the surrounding area. It is done to limit the further spread of cancer in the vagina.
- Pelvic exenteration: In this surgery, the surgeon removes most of the pelvic organs. This surgery is performed only in case vaginal cancer has spread to the pelvic area or cancer has recurred. The surgeon may remove multiple organs from the pelvic region, like the bladder, uterus, vagina, and rectum. An artificial opening may be created for passing the urine and stool.
- External radiation: The patient is asked to lie on a table, and the external radiator machine is moved around the abdomen to focus the radiation on the targeted portion. Depending on the extent of the spread of cancer, the external beam of radiation is guided at the abdomen and the pelvic area.
- Internal radiation: In internal radiation therapy, radioactive devices like a seed or wires are placed in the vagina near the targeted tissues. This device is removed after a certain amount of time.
Other treatment options
Chemotherapy is not generally used alone for managing vaginal cancer and can be incorporated into treatment strategies to increase the effectiveness of surgery or radiation therapy.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can we prevent vaginal cancer?
There is no way to completely prevent vaginal cancer. However, you can lower the risk of developing vaginal cancer by following certain measures:
- Always use protection during sexual intercourse
- Get a PAP exam regularly
- Avoid having sexual intercourse with someone who has had multiple partners.
- Avoid smoking
- Avoid indulging in a sexual relationship until you are a late teen or beyond.
If the surgery is recommended for treating vaginal cancer, which doctor will perform my surgery?
The type of surgery performed on the patient depends upon the extent of cancer. A gyno-oncologist performs surgery for vaginal cancer.
When should I call a doctor after the completion of treatment?
You should call the doctor if you are experiencing any symptoms of recurring cancer, like pain during urinating, intercourse, and abnormal bowel movements. You can also call the doctor if you are experiencing any postoperative completions like bleeding from the vagina, soreness and swelling around the treated skin, and diarrhea. Never ignore any symptoms that make you suspicious about the recurrence of vaginal cancer.