How is vaginal cancer treated?

Treatment for vaginal cancer depends on the type of cell, the stage of cancer (how advanced it is), and your age. A young woman who has not yet had children may receive a different type of treatment with the goal of preserving her fertility.

Your doctor will determine the best treatment plan for you. In general, early non-advanced types of cancer and precancerous cells may be treated with laser surgery and topical treatments.

Vaginal cancer is staged in three ways, based on how far the tumor has progressed in the vagina, whether it has spread to the lymph nodes, and whether it has spread to other parts of the body. These three categories are called T (tumor), N (nodes), and M (whether it has metastasized, or spread).

Invasive or advanced vaginal cancer will often require radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy. Often, all three may be used by your doctors in treating your cancer.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/30/2018.

References

  • American Cancer Society. Vaginal cancer Accessed 5/2/2018.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaginal and vulvar cancers Accessed 5/2/2018.
  • Merino MJ. Vaginal cancer: the role of infectious and environmental factors. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1991 Oct;165(4 Pt 2):1255-62.
  • Hoffman BL, Schorge JO, Schaffer JI, Halvorson LM, Bradshaw KD, Cunningham F, Calver LE. Chapter 32. Vaginal Cancer. In: Hoffman BL, Schorge JO, Schaffer JI, Halvorson LM, Bradshaw KD, Cunningham F, Calver LE. eds. Williams Gynecology, 2e. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2012. library.ccf.org Accessed 5/2/2018.

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