Recurrent vaginal cancer refers to a malignancy that has come back after a patient has completed a course of treatment and is found to be cancer free. While many women never experience a recurrence, there is always a chance that the cancer could return. As a result, patients are instructed to schedule regular follow-up visits with their oncology team. Because a recurrence can happen months or even years after the completion of initial treatment, it’s important for survivors to remain alert for any unusual changes that could indicate a return of their cancer.
Recurrent cancers can develop in the same part of the vagina as the first cancer, or they can develop in a completely different part of the body. If vaginal cancer cells develop into a tumor elsewhere in the body, the condition is still classified as vaginal cancer. Recurrent, metastatic vaginal cancer can occur in many different locations, but the most common include the:
- Endometrium (the membrane that lines the inside of the uterus)
Depending on where the recurrent vaginal cancer has developed, an oncologist may recommend surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy or even a clinical trial to treat the malignancy. Patients at Moffitt Cancer Center can access each of these treatments in a single, convenient location, and no referrals are required to obtain our services.
At Moffitt Cancer Center, we are unique in that we have a team of oncologists who specialize exclusively in the diagnosis and treatment of gynecological cancers. This team assesses each patient’s symptoms to determine what diagnostic testing might be necessary, provides second opinions for patients who have been diagnosed elsewhere and designs individualized treatment plans for patients with recurrent vaginal cancer. Because we understand and respect each woman’s personal preferences, such as the desire to retain sexual function and reproductive abilities after treatment, we tailor each patient’s plan in several different ways. The timing, arrangement and intensity of treatments can all be adjusted to provide each patient with the best possible quality of life.