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Doctor examining vaginal cancer patient

Vaginal cancer

The information on this page was reviewed and approved by
Maurie Markman, MD, President, Medicine & Science at CTCA.

This page was updated on November 04, 2020.

Vaginal cancer requires expert care. Our doctors treat cancer every day.

Vaginal cancer develops in the tissues of the vagina, also known as the birth canal. The vagina is a three- to four-inch tube that connects the cervix (the opening of the womb or uterus) and the vulva (the folds of skin around the opening to the vagina). Vaginal cancer is rare. Symptoms include vaginal bleeding and discharge, and pain during sex. The vast majority of women diagnosed with this disease are over the age of 40, and nearly half are 70 and older.

At Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), our gynecologic oncologists are trained and experienced in diagnosing and treating all stages of the disease. You will undergo a biopsy as part of the diagnostic process, which may also include a CT scan and/or an MRI. Our cancer experts will then develop a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your needs, preferences and goals, helping you make an informed decision about your care.

What you should know after a vaginal cancer diagnosis

Treatment options

male oncologist explaining vaginal cancer and treatment options to female patient

Vaginal tumors are treated with various approaches in radiation, surgery and chemotherapy. A multidisciplinary team of vaginal cancer experts recommends treatment plans based on each woman’s unique diagnosis and needs. Treatments include:

Chemotherapy
These drugs may be given alone or in combination with radiation therapy or surgery, or both.

Radiation therapy
Radiation technologies target difficult-to-reach tumors in the vagina and help reduce the risk of common gastrointestinal and sexual function side effects associated with radiation therapy for vaginal cancer.

Surgery
This is typically the first line of treatment for women with early-stage disease. Your gynecologic oncologist may choose from a number of surgical procedures to treat vaginal cancer.

Learn more about treatments for vaginal cancer

​Supportive care

Our multidisciplinary vaginal care team helps patients manage the side effects of the disease and its treatment, helping you stay strong and maintain quality of life throughout your journey. Supportive care services for vaginal cancer patients may include:

mind_body

Behavioral health

​Our behavioral health support program is designed to support you and your caregivers before, during and after cancer treatment.

nutrition

​Nutritional support

Every patient has the option of meeting with a registered dietitian.

accupuncture

​Pain management

Pain management is a branch of medicine focused on reducing pain and improving quality of life through an integrative approach to care.

Learn more

"The best part is that they do a lot of the tough work—like setting up appointments and making sure the entire care team is communicating. I have enough to worry about, and I appreciated not having to worry about the other stuff. I could focus on fighting my cancer. "

Heather-C

Heather C.

Cervical Cancer

MORE ABOUT HEATHER

More About HEATHER

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