Vaginal Cancer Stages / Staging
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Stages of Vaginal Cancer
Vaginal cancer staging describes how large a cancer is, and the degree to which the disease has spread. The staging guidelines developed by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) in combination with American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) system are used to stage vaginal cancers. This common system allows doctors to communicate important information about the cancer with each other in a standardized way. Vaginal cancer stages are based on three categories:
- T - Describes the primary tumor size
- N – Indicates whether the cancer cells have spread to regional lymph nodes
- M – Refers to whether the cancer has metastasized (spread to distant areas of the body)
Vaginal Cancer Stage Groupings
Once the individual TNM components are scored, they are combined to determine the overall stage group:
- Stage 0: This stage of vaginal cancer is also known as vaginal epithelial neoplasia 3 (VAIN 3), or carcinoma in situ. Cancer cells are restricted to the top epithelial layer of cells lining the vagina, and have not invaded any deeper. This stage is used only in the AJCC system, and not the FIGO system.
- Stage I: At this stage, the cancer cells have invaded deeper tissue layers of the vagina, but they have not spread beyond the vagina to nearby structures or lymph nodes.
- Stage II: Cancer cells have reached the connective tissue surrounding the vagina, but they have not yet spread to nearby organs or lymph nodes.
- Stage III: The cancer has spread beyond the vagina to the walls of the pelvis and/or nearby lymph nodes, but it has not spread to distant organs.
- Stage IVA: In this vaginal cancer stage, the disease has spread beyond the vagina to nearby organs such as the bladder or rectum. Cancer cells may have reached nearby lymph nodes, but they have not reached distant organs.
- Stage IVB: Cancers at this stage are the most advanced. Cancer cells have reached distant organs, such as the lungs.
Vaginal Cancer Staging and Treatment Options
There are a number of different treatment options for each stage of vaginal cancer. Your medical history and other relevant factors will be carefully reviewed by your care team at CTCA to develop a personalized treatment plan for you.
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