What Are the Different Types of Vaginal Cancer?

Vaginal cancer is a relatively uncommon malignancy where the cells in the vagina undergo abnormal changes and divide at a rapid rate. There are several types of vaginal cancer, and they are classified based on the type of cell where the cancer begins. They are:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma – This is the most common type of vaginal cancer, forming slowly in the cells that line the vagina. Sometimes squamous cell carcinoma develops in women who have precancerous conditions such as vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia or those who have cervical cancer.
  • Adenocarcinoma – This form of vaginal cancer is most often found in women over the age of 50 and develops in the gland cells of the vagina. Additionally, clear cell adenocarcinoma (a subtype of adenocarcinoma) is sometimes found in younger women who have been exposed to a synthetic form of estrogen called diethylstilbestrol (DES).
  • Melanoma – This type of vaginal cancer is more uncommon and develops in the vaginal cells that give the skin color, usually in the outer or lower parts of the vagina.
  • Sarcoma – The least common type of vaginal cancer, sarcomas originate in the connective tissues that form the walls of the vagina.

Are different types of vaginal cancer treated differently?

The best course of treatment for a patient with vaginal cancer will depend on the type of cancer she has. At Moffitt, we take a unique, collaborative approach to our patients’ treatment. The experts in our gynecologic clinic work together to review each new patient’s case and ensure that her treatment is tailored to address the challenges of her unique cancer. The treatment plans we develop comprise some of the most advanced vaginal cancer therapies available, and eligible patients may have the opportunity to benefit from the latest breakthroughs in treatment through one of our groundbreaking clinical trials.

If you have vaginal cancer and would like to learn about the treatment options available to you at Moffitt, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online. You do not need a referral to schedule a consultation.