By Dr. Nitin Pawar, General Surgery,
Vaginal cancer is the formation and multiplication of cancerous cells in the vaginal tract. This disease is rather uncommon and may be of two types: Squamous cell carcinoma which forms in the squamous cell; and Adenocarcinoma which begins in the glandular cells. Squamous cell carcinoma is the more common of the two and may spread to liver, bones or the lungs.
Vaginal cancer has its fair share of risk factors which include old age, having been subjected to hysterectomy, possessing human papilloma virus or the HPV, having a history of cervical cancer or abnormal cell growth in the uterus, etc. However, exposure to the drug ‘diethylstilbestrol’ (DES) forms a major risk factor during birth.
Vaginal cancer is curable if detected early during the first two stages…
Symptoms of vaginal cancer involve bleeding which is unrelated to menstrual bleeding, pain during sexual intercourse or urination, vaginal lumps or constipation. It is easily detectable through rectal exam, biopsy, pelvic test, pap test or colonoscopy.
Vaginal cancer may be usually treated through radiation using an advanced combination of external beam radiation and brachytherapy (treating cancer by inserting implants which are radioactive directly inside the tissues). Chances of recovery depend on the size and grade of the cancerous tumor and the stage it was detected in. Patient’s age, health and history play a major role in the prognosis.
The choice of the treatment method depends on the size, grade and history of the patient. It also depends on the nature of the tumor and the stage of detection.
Vaginal cancer is rather uncommon among younger women. If detected early, it is easily curable using radiation. Sometimes, radical surgery is advised to people with squamous cancer, detected at the second stage.