Vaginal cancer is a rare form of cancer in which cancer cells grow in the vagina. It typically affects women age 60 and older and those who have had a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Early-stage vaginal cancer can be hard to detect since it does not produce any symptoms. Vaginal cancer that is in the invasive stage—meaning the cancer cells have spread deeper into the walls of the vagina—can produce a variety of symptoms. Some of the signs of vaginal cancer at this stage include:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding (especially if it occurs after sexual intercourse)
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- A mass or lump in the vagina
- Painful sex
When vaginal cancer is in an advanced stage, it may produce symptoms such as back pain, leg swelling, constipation, painful urination and pelvic pain.
Since vaginal cancer is rare, if you’re experiencing these symptoms, it’s likely that they are caused by a noncancerous medical condition, such as a urinary tract infection. Nonetheless, individuals experiencing these signs of vaginal cancer should consult with a medical provider right away for prompt diagnosis.
Moffitt Cancer Center’s approach to vaginal cancer
If you want to consult with a team of specialists about the signs of vaginal cancer that you’re experiencing, Moffitt Cancer Center is here for you. Our vaginal cancer specialists in our gynecological clinic have treated many women with this rare condition and have a level of knowledge that exceeds that of other providers. In fact, Moffitt received the Highest Ranked in Gynecology in Florida by U.S. News & World Report in 2020. We offer many innovative treatments for vaginal cancer, including fertility preservation and reconstructive surgery, and every patient’s treatment plan is fully individualized to meet her needs.