VAGINAL CANCER

Expert vaginal cancer care focused on your needs.

Vaginal cancer patient and gynecological oncologist discuss recent diagnosis

What you need to know

Vaginal cancer happens when malignant (cancerous) cells form in the vagina. Increasing age and exposure to the drug DES (diethylstilbestrol) before birth both affect a woman’s risk for the disease. 

Vaginal cancers are rare, representing only about 1 percent of women’s genital cancers. Only about 5,000 women in the U.S. will be told they have vaginal cancer in each year.

The relative survival rate for all vaginal cancers after five years is about 50 percent. The rates vary depending on extent of the cancer.

Meet our providers

Our team features some of the region’s most recognized specialists. Learn more about our gynecological cancer care team.

Understand your diagnosis

At this point, you’ve likely had a physical exam and reviewed your health history with your provider. You may have also had a biopsy to confirm your diagnosis. Following a diagnosis of vaginal cancer, you may have more tests to help your doctor understand your cancer stage.


Cancer staging involves identifying where the cancer is located, if or where it has spread and if it is affecting other parts of your body. Knowing the stage allows your doctor to develop your personalized treatment plan.


Some tests your doctor may now recommend include:

 

  • Chest X-ray, CT scan, MRI or positron emission tomography (PET): Imaging technology to look inside the body
  • Cystoscopy, ureteroscopy, proctoscopy: Using a special instrument, the doctor looks for abnormal areas in the bladder and urethra, ureters and rectum. Tissue samples may be taken and checked under a microscope.

Customized treatment plans

Because each person and every cancer is different, your doctor uses your tests and exams to come up with an individual treatment plan. How long this takes depends on how complex your case is and your treatment goals. During this time, you build a relationship with your cancer doctors. You become a team for your care.

Open, honest communication can only benefit your relationship with your doctors. These tips can also help you get the most from this partnership:

  • Prepare in advance: Write down your questions ahead of your visits. A few examples of smart questions:
    • Why are we doing these tests?
    • Why do you think this treatment is right?
    • What side effects might this treatment cause?
  • Find trustworthy resources: If you’re looking to learn more, rely on this website or sources your team recommends, so you can make decisions based on good information.
  • Take a partner: Bringing a friend or family member to appointments can make you feel more confident and help you remember important details.

Treatment options

There are several ways to treat vaginal cancer depending on the type and location of the tumor. Options may include surgery, chemotherapy or radiation. Women  often receive a combination of treatments. Some patients may be candidates for our advanced brachytherapy program or targeted therapy. 

Learn more about your treatment options.

More support

You are not alone. Legacy offers support throughout your cancer journey, as well as care for your emotional, social and spiritual needs.

Nurse navigators
Legacy Cancer Healing Center 
Support groups and classes
Cancer rehabilitation 
Survivorship services

Meet our providers

Our team features some of the region’s most recognized specialists. Learn more about our gynecological cancer care team.