Vaginal cancer causes, symptoms and treatment

Vaginal cancer is a type of cancer that affects women. This type of cancer is more common in women over the age of 60. Women infected with human papillomavirus (HPV) are more susceptible to infection and can be treated in the early stages in Turkey.

Anatomy of the female pelvis, showing the position of the vagina in relation to the body
Anatomy of the female pelvis, showing the position of the vagina in relation to the body

What is vaginal cancer?

Vaginal cancer is a rare type of cancer that affects women. The vagina is a tube-like organ that connects the cervix (the lower part of the uterus) to the vulva (the external female genitalia). The vagina is lined with a layer of flat cells called squamous cells. This layer of cells is also called the epithelium because it is made up of epithelial cells. At birth, the baby passes through the vagina during birth, so the vagina is sometimes known as the birth canal.

Who gets vaginal cancer?

Vaginal cancer is more common in women age 60 or older. About half of cases occur in women 70 years of age or older.
Only about 15% of cases are found in women younger than 40 years old.

What are the types of cancer of the vagina or vulva?

There are different types of vaginal cancer, which affect different types of cells in the vagina. These include:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma: the most common type of malignant vaginal tumor. Squamous cell carcinoma accounts for about 70% of all cases. This cancer begins in Squamous cells in the vagina that line the vagina and occur near the cervix.
  • Adenocarcinoma: This type of cancer begins in the gland cells in the vagina.
    It accounts for about 15% of vaginal tumors, and it usually affects women over the age of 50.
    Clear cell carcinoma is the exception, and it most often affects younger women who were exposed to DES in their mothers' womb.
  • Melanoma: A much rarer form of vaginal cancer, it accounts for about 9% of all cases. Skin cancer usually occurs on the outside of the vagina.
  • Sarcoma: A rare type of vaginal tumor that makes up about 4% of cases. This type of cancer begins within the walls of the vagina rather than on the surface. There are different types of sarcoma. Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common and is found mostly in children. Leiomyosarcoma occurs more commonly in women over the age of 50.

Symptoms and causes

What are the causes of vaginal cancer?

  • Women infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV) are more likely than other women to develop this rare cancer.
    Women infected with the herpes simplex virus are more likely to develop vaginal cancer.
  • However, the strongest risk factor is if the woman's mother took a drug called diethylstilbestrol (DES) when she was pregnant between 1940 and 1971. Often women were more likely than the general population to be affected.
    There is about 1 case of this type of cancer in every 1,000 girls who took DES during pregnancy.
  • Another risk factor is cervical cancer.
  • Smoking also doubles a woman's risk of developing vaginal cancer.
vagina cancer
vagina cancer

What are the symptoms of vaginal cancer?

Vaginal cancer often has no noticeable symptoms, which means it's often advanced by the time it's diagnosed.
For this reason, it is important to have regular health check-ups, which can sometimes diagnose a polyp of the vagina and cervix before any symptoms are noticed.

may include Symptoms of a malignant vaginal tumor are one of the following:

  • Bleeding from the vagina, often after intercourse, unrelated to menstruation
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • A noticeable lump in the vagina
  • painful urination
  • constipation
  • pelvic pain

Although 8 out of 10 women with invasive vaginal cancer have one or more of these symptoms, it is likely that these symptoms are often much less serious than vaginal cancer.
However, you should see your doctor as soon as possible if you have any of these symptoms.

Diagnostics and tests in Turkey

how to cancer diagnosis Malignant vagina in Turkey?

Your doctor will start your examination by asking about your symptoms.
You'll then likely have several tests, including a pelvic exam, Pap test and vaginal biopsy.
All of this can be done in your doctor's office.

Axial positron emission tomography
Axial positron emission tomography

If your Pap test shows abnormal cells in your vagina or cervix, you'll need to have a test called a colposcopy.
This can also be done in a doctor's office.
In this procedure, your doctor will use an instrument called a colposcope to examine your cervix and vagina and look for abnormal cells.
He or she will also likely take a sample of tissue, called a biopsy, to check your cells for cancer in a laboratory.

Management and treatment in Turkey

How is vaginal cancer treated in Turkey?

Treatment for a vaginal tumor depends on the cell type, the stage of the cancer (how advanced it is), and your age. A young woman who has not yet given birth may receive a different type of treatment to preserve her fertility.

Your doctor will determine the best treatment plan for you. In general, early, non-advanced types of cancer and precancerous cells may be treated with laser surgery and topical treatments.

The stages of a vaginal tumor are staged in three ways, based on how far the tumor has advanced into the vagina, whether it has spread to the lymph nodes, and whether it has spread to other parts of the body. These three categories are called T (tumor size), N (nodes), and M (whether metastatic or non-metastatic).

An invasive or advanced vaginal polyp often requires radiation therapy, surgery, and chemotherapy.
Often, all three doctors may use in the treatment of cancer.

What is the outlook forvagina cancer?

Your prognosis for vaginal cancer depends on the stage at which it is diagnosed.
Vaginal cancers in their early stages can often be treated successfully, and you can go on to live a full life.
The US National Institutes of Health reports an overall 5-year survival rate of 80% to 90% for the early stages.

Late-stage cancers are difficult to treat and may require ongoing chemotherapy and other treatment options.
For this reason, it is important to have regular gynecological examinations, even when you feel well, and to seek medical advice at the first sign of symptoms.

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