Vaginal Cancer Surgery
Many different types of surgery can be used to treat vaginal cancer. The approach recommended for each patient primarily depends on the extent of the cancer, although several additional factors will also come under consideration. In most cases, patients have surgery to remove as much of the cancer as possible, then undergo chemotherapy, radiation therapy or another type of treatment to destroy any residual cancer cells.
The main types of vaginal cancer surgery include:
- Laser surgery – This surgery may be recommended for women with vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia (VAIN), a pre-cancerous condition that has not yet become malignant. During laser surgery, a surgeon uses a narrow beam of intense light to destroy abnormal cells within the vagina.
- Wide local excision – This surgery is most commonly recommended for women with locally confined, early-stage cancers that have not spread into nearby tissues. During this procedure, a surgeon removes the cancerous lesion as well as several healthy cells from the surrounding area.
- Partial vaginectomy – This surgery, which involves the removal of the upper part of the vagina, is used to treat cancers that have developed in that specific part of the organ.
- Total vaginectomy – This surgery is used to treat cancers that have spread beyond a small, well-defined area in the vagina. A total vaginectomy is the removal of the entire vagina; following this procedure, a woman may elect to undergo plastic reconstruction surgery to allow for vaginal intercourse.
- Radical hysterectomy – This surgery may be recommended for cancers that have spread through the vaginal wall and grown into other parts of the reproductive system. During this procedure, a surgeon removes the uterus, the tissues that hold the uterus in place and all of the surrounding lymph nodes.
A woman’s decision to undergo vaginal cancer surgery is a highly personal one, and the expert oncologists at Moffitt Cancer Center help every patient select the best treatments for her needs. As a high-volume center, we have extensive experience with each of these procedures, as well as a designated team of surgeons who specialize in gynecological procedures.
To learn more about vaginal cancer surgery at Moffitt Cancer Center, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online. No referral is required.