Vaginal cancer staging relies on a uniform system to describe the extent and spread of a cancer. This information, which is based on the results of diagnostic testing, can be helpful to a physician when determining the best course of treatment for a patient. However, a cancer’s stage is not a prognostic indicator in and of itself. For this reason, cancer staging is often a source of confusion to patients, so it is best discussed with a physician who can put the information in the proper context and provide individualized advice and guidance.
For vaginal cancer staging, many physicians use the FIGO (International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics) System of Staging in conjunction with the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) TNM system. This system classifies vaginal cancer in stages 1 through 4 based on values assigned to three categories: the extent of the tumor (T), whether the cancer has spread to lymph nodes (N) and whether the cancer has spread to distant areas of the body (M for metastasis).
The vaginal cancer staging framework includes:
- Stage 1 – The cancer has grown into the vaginal walls but has not spread further.
- Stage 2 – The cancer has begun to spread outside of the vagina and into the surrounding tissues, but has not reached the walls of the pelvis.
- Stage 3 – The cancer has spread outside of the vagina and reached the side walls of the pelvis and possibly some nearby lymph nodes.
- Stage 4 – The cancer has spread beyond the vagina to other organs and tissues.
The gynecologic clinic at Moffitt Cancer Center offers a full range of advanced treatments for all stages and types of vaginal cancer. We develop each patient’s treatment plan based on input from a multispecialty team of cancer experts. To ensure the best possible treatment approach, this skilled tumor board meets weekly to review each patient’s progress and fine-tune the treatment plan as necessary.
If you’d like to learn more about vaginal cancer staging, the experts at Moffitt can explain the statistics and put this information in perspective for you. Call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online. No referrals are necessary.