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Vaginal Cancer - Cancer that begins in the vagina. The vagina is the muscular canal (also called the birth canal) which leads from the cervix (the lower end of the uterus) to the outside of the body. Squamous cell carcinoma (which develops in thin, flat cells lining the vagina) is the most common form of vaginal cancer. Other forms of vaginal cancer include adenocarcinoma (which develops in glandular, or secretory, cells), malignant melanoma (which develops from pigment-producing cells), and sarcoma (which forms deep in the wall of the vagina). Vaginal cancer is relatively rare. Primary vaginal cancers are much less common than cancers that start in other organs and spread to the vagina. Common vaginal cancer risk factors include age (being 60 or older), having the HPV virus, a history of cervical cancer, or being exposed to the drug DES (diethylstilbestrol) in utero (before birth).
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