Some women learn that they need to be tested for vaginal cancer when a routine test comes back abnormal. Other women may schedule an appointment with a physician when they begin having symptoms of vaginal cancer. Abnormal vaginal bleeding, pain during intercourse, abnormal discharge and pain in the pelvic region are all symptoms of vaginal cancer. While these symptoms can be caused by something other than cancer, like an infection, it is important that women who are showing symptoms get examined by a physician.
What tests are used to diagnose vaginal cancer?
To make a vaginal cancer diagnosis, a physician will typically start by discussing the patient’s symptoms and family history and performing a pelvic exam. Based on the findings of the exam, the physician may order one of the following tests:
- Biopsy – A colposcope is used to get a magnified view of the vagina, and a small sample of vaginal tissue is removed. The sample is then examined under a microscope.
- Endoscopic tests – A physician uses an endoscope to perform a proctosigmoidoscopy to view the patient’s rectum and colon, or a cystoscopy to view the patient’s bladder. These tests are sometimes done in the diagnostic process to determine if the cancer has spread.
- Imaging tests – MRIs, CT scans and X-rays are often used to diagnose patients with vaginal cancer.
Where to receive vaginal cancer testing
Women showing symptoms of vaginal cancer who would like to be evaluated are welcome to come to Moffitt Cancer Center, where we offer a full range of diagnostic services. If vaginal cancer is found, patients will have access to treatment in our gynecologic clinic where a multispecialty team will ensure each treatment plan addresses the challenges of the patient’s unique cancer. Moffitt offers the latest advancements in vaginal cancer treatment, including promising clinical trials for eligible patients. We also have compassionate supportive care services conveniently under the same roof.