Vaginal Cancer (cont.)
In this Article
- Vaginal cancer facts*
- What is vaginal cancer?
- What are causes and risk factors for vaginal cancer?
- What are symptoms and signs of vaginal cancer?
- What tests are used to diagnose vaginal cancer?
- What is the prognosis for vaginal cancer?
- How is staging determined for vaginal cancer?
- What is the treatment for vaginal cancer?
- Treatment options by stage
- Treatment options for recurrent vaginal cancer
- Where can I find more information about vaginal cancer?
- Find a local Oncologist in your town
What are causes and risk factors for vaginal cancer?
Age and exposure to the drug DES (diethylstilbestrol) before birth affect a woman's risk of developing vaginal cancer.
Anything that increases your risk of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Risk factors for vaginal cancer include the following:
- Being aged 60 or older.
- Being exposed to DES while in the mother's womb. In the 1950s, the drug DES was given to some pregnant women to prevent miscarriage (premature birth of a fetus that cannot survive). Women who were exposed to DES before birth have an increased risk of developing vaginal cancer. Some of these women develop a rare form of cancer called clear cell adenocarcinoma.
- Having human papilloma virus (HPV) infection.
- Having a history of abnormal cells in the cervix or cervical cancer.
What are symptoms and signs of vaginal cancer?
Possible signs of vaginal cancer include pain or abnormal vaginal bleeding.
Vaginal cancer often does not cause early symptoms and may be found during a routine Pap test. When symptoms occur they may be caused by vaginal cancer or by other conditions. A doctor should be consulted if any of the following problems occur:
- Bleeding or discharge not related to menstrual periods.
- Pain during sexual intercourse.
- Pain in the pelvic area.
- A lump in the vagina.
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