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7 Symptoms of Vaginal Cancer That Women Should Be Aware Of

7 Symptoms of Vaginal Cancer That Women Should Be Aware Of

This is a rare type of cancer that starts in the vagina where the treatment has a high success rate when detected early.

There's a lot of information available online when it comes to diseases, especially cancer. While it's important not to dwell too much on the information online which can build up anxiety, make sure not to dismiss what seem like signs either. Because in a lot of cases, when the cancer is detected early there's a high chance of getting successful treatment. Always speak to your doctor immediately if you ever suspect any symptoms. The sooner you start treatment, the better it will work. Don't be afraid to ask for help and assistance. 

Now let's get into the scientific nitty-gritty about one particular type of cancer. Accounting for about 1% of female genital cancers is vaginal cancer, estimates the National Cancer Institute, according to Healthline. Vaginal cancer is a rare type of cancer that starts in the vagina, which is a muscular canal with a soft, flexible lining that connects the uterus to the outside of one's body. 

Source: Getty Images/VERONIKA ZAKHAROVA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

 

Do not confuse the vagina with the vulva,which is the external part of the female genitals. The vulva includes the opening of the vagina (sometimes called the vestibule), the labia majora (outer lips), the labia minora (inner lips), and the clitoris. Fun fact: labia means lips in Latin.

Source: Getty Images/Anastasia Usenko

 

Vaginal cancer treatment has a high success rate in the early stages. If you have any signs doctors will do a pelvic exam to look for possible causes of your symptoms. A pap smear is done to check for any abnormal cells. Stage 1 of vaginal cancer will see the cancer contained in the vaginal wall. By Stage 4, the cancer has spread to the bladder, rectum, or both and in some cases to other organs like the lungs. Those who are at risk to develop this rare cancer are women who have the human papillomavirus (HPV). Smoking also doubles the risk of vaginal cancer.

In some cases, vaginal cancer has no symptoms and can be discovered during a routine pelvic exam. At other times, some of the signs of vaginal cancer include:

1. Abnormal discharge

If you notice unusual watery vaginal discharge, it may be a sign of vaginal cancer.

2. Abnormal vaginal bleeding

This is one of the common signs of vaginal cancer. This includes bleeding after menopause, bleeding during or after sex, and bleeding in between menstruation

3. Pain during sex

Watch out for discomfort during sexual intercourse. This can happen in your pelvic area during sex.

4. Lumps in your vagina

Sometimes it might be a vaginal cyst, however, only your doctor can determine for sure. If you feel a lump in your vagina, make sure to get it checked.

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5. Painful or frequent urination

This condition is called Dysuria and it happens when you feel pain or a burning sensation when you urinate. 

6. Constipation

During later stages of vaginal cancer, you might experience chronic constipation. 

7. Pain in the pelvis or low in the belly

Pelvic pain, which is pain that occurs in the area of the pelvic bone or the reproductive organs,  might be a symptom of an infection but also of cancer (cervix, uterus, vagina or ovaries)

According to Cleveland Clinic,  8 out of 10 women with invasive vaginal cancer have one or more of the above symptoms. However it is important to note most of the time these symptoms are likely to be much less serious than vaginal cancer and could be possible due to infections. Either way, you should always get it checked with a professional in any case. Speak to your doctor if you have any of these symptoms. Take care of your reproductive health! 

Source: Getty Images/pepifoto

 

 



Disclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.