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Vaginal cancer is a rare type of cancer. It is more common in women 60 and older. You are also more likely to get it if you have had a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection or if your mother took diethylstilbestrol (DES) when she was pregnant. Doctors prescribed DES in the 1950's to prevent miscarriages. You are also at higher risk if you have had abnormal cells in the vagina, cervix, or uterus.
It often doesn't have early symptoms. However, see your doctor if you notice
- Bleeding that is not your period
- A vaginal lump
- Pelvic pain
A Pap test can find abnormal cells that may be cancer. Vaginal cancer can often be cured in its early stages. Treatment might include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
NIH: National Cancer Institute
- Cancer and Stress (Foundation for Women's Cancer)
- Cancer Treatment for Women: Possible Sexual Side Effects (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Diethylstilbestrol (DES) and Cancer (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
- How Will Cancer Affect My Sex Life? (American Cancer Society) Also in Spanish
- Sex and Women with Cancer -- Overview (American Cancer Society)
Statistics and Research
- Increased Risk of Rare Cancer as DES Daughters Age (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in Spanish
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Vaginal Neoplasms (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Incidence rates and risks of diethylstilbestrol-related clear-cell adenocarcinoma of the...
- Article: Abnormal Vaginal Pap Test After Hysterectomy in Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Infected...
- Article: A phase 2 trial of dasatinib in patients with locally...
- Vaginal Cancer -- see more articles
- After chemotherapy - discharge (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Pelvic (between the hips) radiation - discharge (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Understanding Chemotherapy (National Cancer Institute) - PDF Also in Spanish
- Vaginal and Vulvar Cancer (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) - PDF Also in Spanish
- Vaginal tumors (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- What to Know about External Beam Radiation Therapy (National Cancer Institute) - PDF Also in Spanish