This a cancer that was realtively new to me to be honest, I knew that cervical cancer could spread down into the vagina but this is all about cancer that begins in the vagina. The NHS says it’s rare, especially in women under 40 but I still think it’s well worth knowing about it, and how to look out for it.
Symptoms of Vaginal Cancer include:
- Vaginal bleeding after the menopause
- Bleeding after sex or pain during sex
- Smelly or bloodstained vaginal discharge
- Bleeding between periods
- A lump or itch in your vagina that won’t go away
- Pain when peeing, or needing to pee a lot.
If you have these symptoms you are much more likely to have something far less serious, like an infection. But it’s always worth getting yourself checked over to make sure nothing more sinister is at play.
The NHS reccommends you see your GP if you think you have the symptoms of vaginal cancer, remember you are never wasting a doctors time getting checked out. Your GP will ask about your symptoms and may ask to do a vaginal exam. If they aren’t sure what the cause is then they will refer you onto a gynaecologist who will perform further tests like:
- Another pelvic examination
- Colposcopy – where a microscope is used to look inside the vagina and a biopsy may be taken.
If you do have vaginal cancer then a team of specialists will advise you on the best course of treatment for you but the main treatments are:
- Radiotherapy – radiation from an external machine or temporary implant in your vagina is used to kill cancer cells
- Surgery – this may include just removing a small part of your vagina, or it could mean your vagina needs to be completely removed and recreated, nearby tissues like your womb may need to be removed.
- Chemotherapy – This is used to kill cancer cells if they’ve spread to other parts of the body.
Like cervical cancer, vaginal cancer is usually caused by infecton with some types of HPV so the HPV vaccination can help you reduce the risk of getting Vaginal Cancer
If you are or you know someone experiencing Vaginal Cancer then please do point them in the direction of @eveappeal. All information checked with and learned from the NHS website.