Vaginal Cancer: When to look for medical advice

By  , Expert Content
Jan 11, 2012

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The prognosis of vaginal cancer is favourable in patients diagnosed in the early stages of disease. Studies have shown that the 5 year survival rates of stage I of the disease is about 84%, which decreases to about 57% in women with metastatic vaginal cancer. As the symptoms in initial stages of the disease are non-specific, many patients tend to ignore the symptoms. By the time the symptoms are evident, the cancer will have progresses beyond the initial stages.

Consult your doctor if you have any/all of the following symptoms suggestive of some type of significant gynecological problem:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding i.e. bleeding, which is not related to your menstruation (periods) such as bleeding or spotting in between your regular menstrual periods or contact bleeding (bleeding after sexual intercourse, after douching etc) or bleeding in women after menopause.
  • Abnormal vaginal Discharge may be foul smelling, purulent or blood tinged.
  • Feeling of mass in the vagina.
  • Pain in the pelvic area.
  • Pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse.

These are some symptoms suggestive of vaginal cancer. The presence of these symptoms does not mean that you have vaginal cancer. Your doctor, after examinations and tests, can diagnose the cause of your symptoms and treat them accordingly.

Who to Consult

If you have any significant gynaecological symptoms that persist for more than a few days, consult a health professional. Health professionals, who can be consulted include:

  • Gynaecologists.
  • Obstetricians.
  • Family physicians.
  • Nurse practitioners.
  • Assistants of physicians.
  • Internists.

If you are diagnosed with vulvar cancer, the doctors who can manage your treatment include:

  • Gynaecologists.
  • Gynaecologic oncologists.
  • Radiation oncologists.
  • Medical oncologists.

When to consult if you have been treated for vaginal cancer

Vaginal cancer survivors should have regular follow-up examinations because after completion of treatments there is always a risk of recurrence. Regular follow up helps in earlier diagnosis of the recurrence (in case the cancer comes back). Apart from this, you get a chance to discuss any other changes in health. In between follow-up appointments, consult your doctor if you have:

  • Significant vaginal discharge, which may be purulent, foul smelling or blood stained.
  • Dysuria or pain while urinating.
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding.
  • Pain in pelvic area.




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