VAGINAL CANCER

Expert cancer care based on your needs.

Vaginal cancer patient and gynecological oncologist discuss treatment

Getting started

Your treatment begins with your Legacy Cancer Institute doctor recommending a plan based on expert guidelines, called protocols. Your treatment is determined by:

  • The type of tumor
  • The location of the tumor
  • The extent of the disease, called the stage
  • Any tests you have had during diagnosis
  • A discussion about what is right for you

Meet our providers 

Our team features some of the region’s most recognized specialists. Give us a call to make an appointment. Learn more about our gynecological cancer care team. 

503-413-8654  (Oregon)  
360-703-9870  (Washington)

Vaginal cancer treatment options

There are several standard treatments for vaginal cancer.  Like many cancers, surgery, radiation and chemotherapy are among them. Many people undergo a combination of treatments. 

  • Surgeries may include one of these options:
      • Laser surgery involves using a laser beam to make a bloodless cut in tissue or to remove a lesion or tumor.
      • Lymph node dissection is the removal of the lymph nodes and a sample of tissue, which is checked under a microscope for signs of cancer. Also known as lymphadenectomy.
      • Pelvic exenteration is the removal of the lower colon, rectum, bladder, cervix, vagina and ovaries, as well as nearby lymph nodes.
      • Total hysterectomy is removal the uterus and cervix.
      • Vaginectomy is removing all or part of the vagina.
      • Wide local excision involves removing the cancer and some of the normal tissue around the cancer.

    Legacy Health surgeons are trained in minimally invasive techniques, including robotic surgery. These methods allow you to recover more quickly from procedures such as hysterectomy or vaginectomy. 

    • Radiation uses high-energy X-rays or other radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing. Radiation can be one of two types:
      • External radiation uses a machine outside the body and aims radiation toward the cancer.
      • Brachytherapy uses a radioactive material placed in the body, directly in contact with the tumor, so healthy tissues have less exposure to radiation.  Brachytherapy can also be called implant radiation therapy, internal radiation therapy or radiation brachytherapy. Legacy’s technologically advanced brachytherapy program is the largest and most experienced in the region. Learn about brachytherapy.
  • Talk to your doctor about these and other options for treating vaginal cancer. Researchers are discovering new therapies for treating cancer all the time, giving doctors new resources for your care.


    What happens next 

    Many cancer treatments can cause challenging side effects. Your cancer team is dedicated to helping you manage these issues in the best ways possible.

    To see how well your treatment is working, some of the tests used to diagnose and stage your cancer may be repeated. Your doctor uses these tests to decide whether to stop, change or continue treatment based on the results. The tests can also determine if cancer has returned.

    Whenever possible, we work to stop cancer. But when we can’t, we can often control it for a better quality of life, often called palliative care.

    Working together for you

    Our cancer experts work together with a common goal: delivering the right care for you.

    A range of specialists collaborate regularly in meetings called tumor boards to discuss the best plan for your care. Your treatment plan is made just for you, depending on your general health, your age, your particular cancer and its growth.

    More support 

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

    Meet our providers 

    Our team features some of the region’s most recognized specialists. Give us a call to make an appointment. Learn more about our gynecological cancer care team. 

    503-413-8654  (Oregon)  
    360-703-9870  (Washington)