Vaginal/Vulval Cancer

Vaginal/Vulval Cancer

Overview

  • When cancer starts in the vagina, it is called vaginal cancer. The vagina, also called the birth canal, is the hollow, tube-like channel between the bottom of the uterus and the outside of the body.
  • When cancer forms in the vulva, it is vulvar cancer. The vulva is the outer part of the female genital organs. It has two folds of skin, called the labia.
  • Vaginal and vulvar cancers are very rare.

Risk Factors

Several factors may increase the chance that you will get vaginal or vulvar cancer, including

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) for a long time.
  • Have had vulvar or vaginal precancerous lesion
  • Have a condition that weakens your immune system (such as HIV, the virus that can lead to AIDS)
  • Smoking.
  • Chronic vulvar itching or burning.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Main symptoms include

  • Vaginal discharge
  • Itching or burning sensation in vagina
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Lower abdominal pain

Evaluation

  • If the above symptoms are present, patient may need clinical examination and biopsy from the suspicious lesion
  • Staging with CECT/ MRI might be necessary
  • Whole body PETCT if metastatic disease is suspected

Treatment options and what we offer in our centre?

  • Treatment options depend on tumour stage and size
  • Surgery and radiotherapy are very effective in early-stage disease, whereas radiation therapy is the primary treatment for more advanced stages.
  • Radical vulvectomy/ vaginal excision was done earlier, and is now being replaced with conservative less mutilating surgery + reconstructive surgery
  • Nodal dissection in case of nodal metastasis.

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