Diagnosing and Treating Vaginal Cancer
From diagnosis to surgery and chemotherapy, we provide comprehensive care for vaginal cancer. Our services include cancer screening, early detection, therapy and post-treatment surveillance. If you need surgery, we use minimally invasive laparoscopic, or robotic techniques whenever possible.
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What is Vaginal Cancer?
Vaginal cancer begins in the vagina, which is the hollow, tube-like channel between the bottom of the uterus and the outside of the body.
Vaginal cancers are very rare. They account for 6-7 percent of all gynecologic cancers diagnosed in the United States.
What is My Risk for Vaginal Cancer?
Can you answer yes to any of these questions:
- Do you have Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)?
- Have you had cervical pre-cancer (dysplasia) or cervical cancer?
- Do you have a condition such as HIV, the virus that can lead to AIDS, that makes it hard for your body to fight off health problems?
- Are you a smoker?
- Do you have chronic vulvar itching or burning?
If I have some of these risk factors will I get vaginal cancer?
Remember, having one or more of these risk factors does not mean you will get vaginal cancer. However, if you have one or more risk factors, you should schedule regular visits with your doctor and communicate any symptoms you might be experiencing.
In 2016 the American Cancer Society estimates that there will be 4,620 new cases of vaginal cancer and 950 women will lose their fight against the disease.
What Symptoms Should I be Looking For?
Most vaginal cancers do not cause signs or symptoms early on. If you do have symptoms, they may include:
- Vaginal discharge or bleeding that is not normal for you – longer or heavier than is normal for you.
- A lump or mass in your vagina.
- A change in bathroom habits, such as having blood in the stool or urine; going to the bathroom more often than usual; or feeling constipated.
- Pain in your pelvis or abdomen, especially when you pass urine or have sex.
Since other conditions can cause these symptoms as well, it is important to see your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms. Call 303-925-4100 to talk with a cancer care representative or request an appointment.
How Can I Prevent Vaginal Cancers?
- Get the HPV vaccine. It protects against the types of HPV that most often cause cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. If you are between the ages of 9 and 26, talk to your doctor about the HPV vaccine.
- Take steps to reduce your risk of getting HPV or HIV, such as avoiding sex or limiting your number of sexual partners.