Vaginal Cancer

Vaginal cancer is a very rare disease, and is diagnosed in just over 250 people in the UK each year. It is most commonly diagnosed in people over 60 years of age and is rare in people under 40. If you are born with a vagina you are at risk of vaginal cancer. This is relevant to you if you’ve not undergone genital surgery, or some of your vaginal wall was remodelled during a metoidioplasty or if some vaginal tissues was left or remodelled during a phalloplasty procedure (both procedures are sometimes referred to as ‘bottom surgery’).

Symptoms:

  • Abnormal bleeding, eg. between periods, after menopause
  • Discharge with an unpleasant smell or blood stained
  • Pain during penetrative sex
  • An internal lump or growth that you or your doctor can feel
  • An internal itch that won’t go away and pain when urinating
  • Persistent pelvic and internal pain

Risk Factors:

Human papilloma virus
HPV is present in more than two-thirds of cases, which suggests that it may increase your risk of developing the condition.

Abnormal cells

Vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia (VAIN). VAIN is a term used to describe cells that are abnormal, which are thought of as a pre-cancerous condition. It is thought to be closely linked to having a persistent HPV infection. If left untreated it can turn into cancer.