What Causes Vaginal Cancer?

Researchers are continually learning more about what causes vaginal cancer. As with other forms of cancer, vaginal cancers develop when healthy cells undergo changes that cause them to grow and multiply out of control.

In regards to what causes vaginal cancer, studies have determined that the condition develops when:

  • A cell’s DNA is damaged to the point that its normal growth patterns are disrupted (healthy cells are programmed to grow at a set rate and to self-destruct at the end of their life cycles)

  • The abnormal cell creates copies of itself

  • The excess cells accumulate into a tumor, which can continue to spread into surrounding tissues and structures if not promptly diagnosed and treated

This process can occur in several different cells within the vagina, including the squamous cells, the glandular cells, the pigment-producing cells and the cells making up the organ’s connective tissues. To determine which type of vaginal cancer a patient has, a pathologist will note the type of cells that underwent cancerous changes during the development of the patient’s tumor. 

For our notable contributions to research in vaginal cancer and other cancers, Moffitt Cancer Center has been named a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute. We are home to a full-time team of more than 800 research coordinators, research assistants, data specialists and other research faculty and staff, all of whom are committed to increasing our understanding of how cancer develops and spreads – and most importantly, how it can eventually be prevented and cured. Our research space provides our team with ample tools and resources to make groundbreaking discoveries on a regular basis, then fast-track them into new treatments and diagnostic tools.

Referrals are not required to make an appointment at Moffitt. To ask our oncologists questions about what causes vaginal cancer, schedule a consultation by calling 1-888-663-3488 or submitting a new patient registration form online.