Vaginal cancer is not very common and can be found early with a pap smear. Learn about risk factors such as HPV and the treatment options available.
Vaginal cancer is a rare type of cancer. It is more common in women 60 and older. You are also more likely to get it if you have had a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection or if your mother took diethylstilbestrol (DES) when she was pregnant. Doctors prescribed DES in the 1950’s to prevent miscarriages. You are also at higher risk if you have had abnormal cells in the vagina, cervix, or uterus.
It often doesn’t have early symptoms. However, see your doctor if you notice
- Bleeding that is not your period
- A vaginal lump
- Pelvic pain
A Pap test can find abnormal cells that may be cancer. Vaginal cancer can often be cured in its early stages. Treatment might include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
NIH: National Cancer Institute