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Vaginal Cancer

Our Approach

When you come to MD Anderson's Gynecologic Oncology Center for vaginal cancer care, a team of experts focuses on you. These nationally known physicians customize your therapy to include the most-advanced vaginal cancer treatments with the least impact on your body.

Your care team works together closely, communicating and collaborating often to be sure you receive the most comprehensive and efficient care. The group may include surgical, medical, radiation and gynecological oncologists; surgeons and reconstructive surgeons; diagnostic radiologists and pathologists. A specially trained support staff joins them in delivering your care for vaginal cancer.

MD Anderson treats more women each year with this complex type of cancer than most oncologists in the nation. This gives us a level of experience and expertise that is rare and translates to more successful outcomes for many women with vaginal cancer.

Surgical Skill

Surgery often is one of the methods used to treat vaginal cancer. Our skilled surgeons – who include some of the top reconstructive surgeons in the country – are known for innovative techniques and excellent outcomes.

We consider your quality of life one of our top priorities. That's why we offer the most advanced surgical methods for vaginal cancer, including procedures that allow some women to keep the ability to have children.

Pioneering Research

We're constantly researching newer, safe, more-advanced vaginal cancer treatments. This translates to a number of clinical trials of new treatments for vaginal cancer.

And at MD Anderson you're surrounded by the strength of one of the nation's largest and most experienced comprehensive cancer centers, which has all the support and wellness services needed to treat the whole person – not just the disease.

If you have been diagnosed with vaginal cancer, we're here to help. Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.

Why Choose MD Anderson?

  • High level of expertise in vaginal cancer
  • Innovative vaginal cancer surgery methods; techniques that allow some women to keep the ability to have children, including trachelectomy
  • Skilled reconstructive surgeons
  • Combined therapies for advanced vaginal cancer
  • Range of clinical trials of new treatments for vaginal cancer

Vaginal Cancer Knowledge Center

Treatment at MD Anderson

Vaginal cancer is treated in our:

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Vaginal Cancer Facts

According to the American Cancer Society, only about 2,300 women are diagnosed with vaginal cancer each year in the United States. This represents about 1% of cancers of the reproductive system in women.

The vagina sometimes is called the birth canal, because a baby passes through it during the last part of birth. It is a 3- to 4-inch tube that goes from the cervix (bottom section of the uterus or womb) to the vulva (the outside part of female genitals).

Vaginal Cancer Types

The types of vaginal cancer are classified by the type of cell in which they begin.

Squamous cell carcinoma (cancer): About 75% of vaginal cancers are squamous cell cancers, which start in the vagina lining. These cancers develop slowly, sometimes over many years. Often they begin as vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia (VAIN), which is a precancerous condition. VAIN is found most often in women who have had hysterectomies (removal of the uterus), cervical cancer or cervical precancer.

Adenocarcinoma: This type of cancer makes up about 15% of vaginal cancers. It starts in the gland cells of the vagina and is most often found in women over 50. A subtype called clear cell adenocarcinoma is found in younger women whose mothers took the drug DES when they were pregnant.

Melanoma: Fewer than 10% of vaginal cancers are melanomas, which start in the cells that give the skin color.

Sarcoma: About 4% of vaginal cancers are sarcomas, which start within the wall of the vagina. The most common type is rhabdomyosarcoma, which usually is found in children.

Less Common Types

Sometimes cancer that begins in other parts of the body spreads (metastasizes) to the vagina. When this happens, the cancer is named for the part of the body where it started. Cancer of the cervix and vagina is called cervical cancer. Cancer of the vulva and vagina is called vulvar cancer.

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center