Vaginal cancer is an extremely rare cancer that occurs in the vagina – the muscular tube that connects the uterus to the outer genitals. This type of cancer most commonly occurs in the cells that are directly in line with the surface of the vagina.
Diagnosing this type of cancer at an early stage is crucial because it will give you the best chance of curing it. But if the vaginal cancer ends up spreading beyond the vagina, it can be very difficult to treat. For this sole reason, it is extremely crucial to know what the signs and symptoms are of vaginal, cervical and uterine cancers are.
Before I get into the causes and symptoms of these three cancers, it’s important to realize the statistics that come with each of them. Take vaginal cancer for example, this year alone we will see over 4,800 cases with an estimated 1,240 deaths from those. Cervical cancer will see an estimated 12,820 cases with 4,210 deaths. That leaves us with uterine cancer, which will see over 61,000 cases and almost 11,000 deaths.
Symptoms of Vaginal Cancer: You need to understand what the difference is between the three main types of cancer if you’re going to understand the symptoms. Vaginal cancer, as I have already explained is cancer in the vagina that leads to your cervix. Cervical cancer affects the cervix which is a round and firm “knob type structure” in the vagina that is the opening to the uterus. Lastly, uterine cancer is cancer that is present in the womb. Below you will find the most common symptoms you should be aware of.
Unusual Bleeding: This symptom could mean that there is bleeding between periods, after menopause, or anything that is out of the ordinary.
Color Change in Urination or Stool: This could include blood in your urine or your stool. You may also experience frequent urination or even constipation.
Pelvic Pain: This is a telltale sign, if you experience constant pain while you’re having intercourse or while urinating, consult your doctor.
Risk Factors of Vaginal Cancer: Experts and researchers have come to the conclusion that the cause of vaginal cancer is a mystery. But we do know what some of the risk factors are. One factor is age, with increased age means an increased risk. HPV and HIV viruses are also common risk factors along with smoking.
Treatment: Unfortunately the current treatment for vaginal cancer is not pretty. It can involve internal radiation, external radiation, chemotherapy, and in some cases even removing part of your vagina or all of it. The good news is that 84% of women survive if it is caught at stage 1. Women diagnosed at stage 2 have a 75% survival rate, and women diagnosed at stage 3 have a 57% survival rate.
Prevention: The easiest way to prevent vaginal cancer is lower your exposure to the risk factors. The easies things to reduce are smoking and your alcohol consumption. But to further reduce your chances, you should also have a healthy diet that includes rich fruits and vegetables. You should also know your HPV status, because it can cause issues, including vaginal cancer if it spreads.