Vaginal Cancer: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
Female needs to take care of her private parts. Never take your health granted. Little carelessness towards your health may lead to diseases including cancer.
In this article we will learn about vaginal cancer and how can you prevent it.
What Is Vaginal Cancer
Cancers or neoplasm may be defined as the uncontrollable growth of abnormal cells, and it can develop in any part of the body. It can also develop in female vagina.
Vagina, as we know, is part of the genital tract. It is the birth canal that connects to the cervix.
What Are The Causes Of Vaginal Cancer
The exact cause of vaginal cancer is yet researched. One of the common cause considered is the human papillomavirus. According to centres for disease control and prevention about 75 per cent of cancer is found to be associated with HPV. HPV related cancer is commonly found in black American and Hispanic females in comparison to other ethnicities and races. The risk conditions for vaginal cancer are discussed below.
Age- female above 60 years of age are more at the risk of developing vaginal cancer.
History of cervical cancer- Those females who have had vaginal cancer in the past are at high risk that they may develop vaginal cancer in future.
Radiation Treatment- Past radiation treatment increases risk.
Hysterectomy- females who had removal of the uterus are at risk of developing vaginal cancer.
Diethylstilbestrol exposure- Intake of DES is linked with vaginal cancer.
HIV infected females, and those who consume alcohol or smokes are also at risk.
Although vaginal cancer is a rare condition but about 2000 females in the US develop it every year.
What Are The Symptoms Of Vaginal Cancer
The symptoms of vaginal cancer depend on the stage of cancer. The symptoms that are present in the early stage may not be seen easily or even found easily in a routine exam, but it is seen in later stages. The most common symptom of vaginal cancer is abnormal bleeding after having sex and pain in the pelvis.
Bleeding after menopause is also a common symptom. Other symptoms include vaginal mass, pain while urination, lump in the vagina, pain while having sex, constipation and abnormal discharge from the vagina.
How Is Vaginal Cancer Diagnosed
If you are a female suffering from symptoms that makes you suspicious better consult a gynaecologist for proper diagnosis. Your doctor after evaluation of the symptoms may ask you questions related to family history, personal life and sexual life.
Also, the following tests are done:
Pelvic exam – A speculum is inserted to examine cervical, uterus ovaries, rectum, vagina and fallopian tubes. Even the shape, position, size or the uterus and ovaries is reviewed.
Pap test- Pap test or Pap smear is a procedure where a speculum is inserted in the vagina to collect cells on the cervix and vaginal surface. The cells are viewed under the microscope to rule out any abnormality.
Colposcopy- It is examination if cervix. If the Pap test shows abnormal cells or something suspicious is found in the pelvic exam this test is done. In this procedure, the biopsy is done under local anaesthesia.
If vaginal cancer is diagnosed physical exam is done which involves complete body checkup to identify the general signs of disease and also the history of patients health is examined. The aim behind is to rule out metastasis and to find out the stage.
What Is The Treatment Of Vaginal Cancer
The treatment of vaginal cancer depends on the stage, type and location. Various treatment therapies include radiation therapy, chemotherapy and surgery. The treatment option is decided on the age and general health of the patient, size, grade and location of tumour and symptoms of the patient.
Can Vaginal Cancer Be Prevented
To decrease the risk of vaginal cancer, it is said to start having sex in late teen or even older, quit smoking, avoid sex with multiple partners, avoid having sex with those who have sex with multiple partners and have Pap test regularly.
Vaginal cancer may be caused due to number of causes and is dangerous. But, there are treatment options that are more effective if vaginal cancer is detected in early stage. It is always better to follow the preventive measures mentioned in this article to prevent vaginal cancer.